Another late-night host is available to take Craig Ferguson’s place at CBS. TBS revealed today — Take-Out-the-Trash Day (Friday before holiday weekend) – that Conan O’Brien’s late-night companion series, starring Pete Holmes and exec produced by O’Brien, will end its run on June 5, owing to its ratings.
Related: TBS Renews ‘Conan’ Through 2018
Presumably, TBS discussed its thoughts about The Pete Holmes Show ratings during its contract conversations with O’Brien; the network announced with fanfare at its Upfront Week presentation last week that it had re-upped Conan through 2018, but did not mention that Holmes’ show was toast. TBS initially ordered 7 weeks of The Pete Holmes Show in January 2013, and the show launched that fall; this past January, the network picked up an additional 13 weeks — an order that wraps in mid June.
The Pete Holmes Show has aired four nights a week (Monday-Thursday) at midnight, following Conan. Taped before a live studio audience, the show combines sketches, short films, live comedy, field pieces and in-studio guest interviews. O’Brien, Jeff Ross, David Kissinger, Nick Bernstein and Dave Rath executive produced.
Conan’s production company, Conaco, had had the right to program the slot after Conan as part of the deal he signed with TBS in 2010, shortly after his exit from NBC. The deal in this regard mirrored that of David Letterman’s production company Worldwide Pants, which owned/produced both Late Show and The Late Late Show (though CBS more recently negotiated to get co-prod/own rights on Ferguson’s show). “Pete Holmes is an enormously likable performer with an agile and innovative mind,” O’Brien said at the time of the show’s initial order.
Before his TBS gig, Holmes was known for hosting the You Made It Weird podcast, starring in a series of Batman parodies on the website CollegeHumor — and as the voice of the e*trade baby. “The first half of my meeting with Conan was spent making sure this wasn’t all part of a new TBS prank show called You Got Coned!” Holmes said in a statement when the show first was announced. “The second half was spent expressing my sincerest enthusiasm and gratitude for this incredible dream come true.”
TBS/TNT/TCM programming chief Michael Wright ended his upfront presentation last week by bringing out Conan and announcing that TBS had signed the late-night show host for three additional seasons. “I want to thank TBS for that incredible vote of confidence. …This new contract takes me into my 26th year as a talk-show host. That’s crazy!” Conan said on stage before launching into a few minutes of stand-up. “I’ve gone from ‘Who is this young punk?’ to ‘Oh my God, what has he done with his eyes?! I think he got the Full Pelosi! Conan looks like Bruce Jenner’s mother’!”
The Holmes show cancellation is just the latest chapter in the soap opera that is late-night TV these days. Among other developments this year:
- ABC late-night host Jimmy Kimmel, who has been credited with spurring NBC into making its latest Tonight Show Leno removal before Kimmel got too well established at 11:35 PM, said he’d listen closely to CBS if they asked him to replace Letterman, whenever that might happen.
- Letterman — to no one’s surprise, and yet surprisingly — announced he would retire as CBS late-night host in 2015.
- CBS announced Stephen Colbert would replace Letterman.
- Comedy Central announced The Colbert Report would be retired at the end of the calendar year.
- Ferguson, who had a clause in his contract stipulating that CBS would pay him a pot of cash if he didn’t get to succeed Letterman, announced he was leaving Late Late Show at the end of the calendar year.
- ABC announced it had locked up Kimmel.
- Comedy Central announced that Larry Wilmore, The Daily Show’s Senior Black Correspondent, will take over Colbert’s time slot, hosting a new program to be called The Minority Report.