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Upfronts: Video Snafus Send TNT-TBS Execs Scrambling

By | Wednesday May 18, 2011 @ 8:40am PDT

TNT & TBS Upfront News: ‘Closer’ Spinoff, ‘Wedding Band’, ‘Wedding Band’ Picked Up To Series, ‘Conan’ To Hit The Road, Development Slates Announced

UPDATE, 8:35 AM: Turner executives’ nightmare is over. Koonin returned to the stage to tell advertisers that TNT and TBS plan a major campaign to appeal to viewers who want to watch shows on mobile devices. The networks will advertise that they offer “drama on demand” and “comedy on demand.” Koonin paraphrased crooner Richard Marks: “Wherever you go, whatever you do, TBS and TNT will be there waiting for you.”

PREVIOUS, 8:20 AM: Video came back about 15 minutes ago and appears to be OK. Whatever happens, the technical woes gave Conan O’Brien more ammo for a routine that took several jabs at Turner Entertainment. When the breakdown ruined one of his gags, he said, “You know I love working at TBS — the commitment to detail.” After a stagehand told him to skip the routine with the clip, he added: ”Alright, I guess I’ll do what I’m told. Beggers can’t be choosers.” Earlier he said,I did this upfront last year. Frankly, I don’t know why TBS doesn’t do what it does best and run it again -– four freaking times.” Also: “We’re already No. 1 in TBS’ key demographic: People who can’t afford HBO.” Read More »

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DVR Viewing Boosts ‘Conan’ To The Top In Young Demos

Nellie Andreeva

According to TBS, Conan got a significant lift from DVR viewing for the period from its Nov. 8 premiere til the end of the year, adding some 361,000 18-49 viewers and 236,000 viewers in the 18-34 demographic. With the time-shifted viewer numbers included, Conan is topping the rankings of all late-night shows on broadcast or cable in the 18-49 and 18-34 demos. (He is behind his broadcast counterparts in total viewers.) Here are the lists: Read More »

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Conan Issues Apology Over Rudolph Snafu

Nellie Andreeva

Last night, we were the first to point out the striking similarities between a video on Conan last night about Sarah Palin shooting Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and a similar skit on Jimmy Kimmel Live 2 weeks ago. Now, Conan O’Brien has issued a video apology to the folks from Jimmy Kimmel:

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Late-Night Ratings: Leno & Fallon Hit Highs In Viewers, ‘Nightline’ Takes Season Lead

Nellie Andreeva

NBC won three nights in primetime last week, and its ratings gains also carried over to late-night. Both Jay Leno (4.2 million viewers) and Jimmy Fallon (1.9 million) hit season highs in total viewers. for the week of Dec. 13-17. Leno also topped Letterman and Nightline/Jimmy Kimmel in every key category and also prevailed over Conan O’Brien’s TBS show (1.1 rating vs. 0.7) in adults 18-49 for a fourth straight week. Fallon too topped Ferguson and Kimmel in every major category.
Leno widened his margin of victory over Letterman in 18-49 to 22% in viewers (1.402 million vs. 1.149 million), up from a 3% win for the same week last year when Conan was the host of The Tonight Show. Similarly, Fallon topped Late Late Show for the week by 25% (861,000 vs. 689,000), up from last year’s 3%.
Versus the first 13 weeks of last season, Tonight is matching its year-ago 1.0 rating in adults 18-49 and is 6% below its year-ago 18-49 viewership, while CBS’ Late Show is down 10% in rating (0.9 vs. 1.0) and down 14% in 18-49 viewers. In total viewers, Tonight is up 52% versus last season, Late Show is down 15%.
ABC’s Nightline was second for the week among total viewers (3.87 million) and adults 18-49 (1.24 million). Season-to-date, Nightline ranks … Read More »

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Conan’s ‘Harry Potter’ Voldemort Parody

By | Monday November 22, 2010 @ 6:39pm PST

On his TBS talk show tonight, Conan O’Brien spoofs the latest Harry Potter movie:

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Conan Blimp Flies Over ‘The Tonight Show’

By | Monday November 15, 2010 @ 5:15pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

The orange blimp promoting Conan O’Brien’s new late-night show on TBS hovered over Conan’s former stomping grounds at NBC Universal this afternoon. Here is a photo capturing the blimp as it flies above Burbank and Universal. Sources say the blimp was visible from the NBCU offices as well as the Burbank set where The Tonight Show with Jay Leno is taping. Conan goes against Leno and the rest of his late-night rivals tonight when he will kick in his second week on TBS.

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LATENIGHT RAT RACE: Conan Slides Again on Thursday; His First Week Tally Still Solid

Nellie Andreeva

Conan just wrapped his first week on TBS slightly above projections, with an average of 2.9 million total viewers, 2.2 million adults 18-49 and 1.5 million adults 18-34. His median age was 32, way younger than his latenight counterparts. “We couldn’t be happier with the great response from Conan’s fans,” said TNT and TBS’ EVP Michael Wright. “Conan is a big hit among young viewers, with a median age that is more than two decades younger than the show’s rivals on broadcast.”

Young demos have been Conan’s strength. Following his big Monday debut that attracted 4.2 million viewers – beating all latenight shows, broadcast and cable – he quickly … Read More »

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‘Conan’ Ratings Drop 30% In Second Airing

Nellie Andreeva

UPDATE 9:45AM: The fast nationals for Conan’s second show on TBS are in. It drew 2.8 million viewers, down 33% from its premiere audience and lower than its broadcast counterparts. Despite the decline, Conan is expected to once again dominate the young demos with 2.1 million viewers in 18-49 (down 35%) and 1.4 million in 18-34 (down 42%). Its median age stayed steady at around 30, probably still the youngest in latenight.

PREVIOUS 7:30AM: A ratings dropoff after the big Monday night premiere of Conan was inevitable: the question was how steep it was going to be. In the metered markets, the TBS show posted a 2.1 rating last night (when adjusted for Mountain time zone), down 28% from the premiere, which beat all latenight shows. Last night, Letterman drew a 3.0/8, Leno 2.5/7, and Nightline 3.2. More data will be available soon.

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Tom Hanks Makes Big Splash On ‘Conan’

By | Tuesday November 9, 2010 @ 7:34pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

Tom Hanks was a frequent guest on Conan O’Brien’s late night shows on NBC and also appeared on Conan’s final Tonight Show,. Tonight, he experienced some second-hand Splash experience on Conan’s new TBS show. (Recall that mermaid he starred in?) Here are the opening jokes from Conan’s monologue, both about his new network. “That’s right – the whitest man in show business is back — on the second blackest channel on TV…. You know what’s great? Now that we’re on the air, TBS can finally stop running promos for our show. Unfortunately, that leaves an 18-hour hole in their schedule.”

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UPDATE: 4.2 Million Watch Conan’s Debut Which Beats Leno, Letterman, Stewart & Colbert

Nellie Andreeva

2ND UPDATE: It was a great opening for Conan O’Brien on TBS last night. The comedian’s eponymous talk show drew big 4.2 million viewers and massive 3.3 million adults 18-49 and 2.5 million in 18-34 to rank as the top-rated latenight show on TV – broadcast or cable – last night. This was an impressive 2/3+ of the audience he attracted for his debut on NBC’s The Tonight Show in May 2009. Conan ranked as the No.1 latenight talk show telecast of all time on basic cable, beating The Daily Show‘s Oct. 29, 2008 edition. It also topped all other latenight telecasts in basic cable history. The show’s median age was also impressive: 30, the lowest among all latenight shows and half of that for the big broadcast latenight franchises.

Conan towered over its direct competition, Comedy Central’s The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (1.3 million; 690,000 in 18-49) and The Colbert Report (1 million; 550,000 in 18-49) and also beat its broadcast counterparts, Leno (3.5 million, 952,000 in 18-49) and Letterman (3.4 million; 1.3 million in 18-49). While Leno and Letterman are not direct competitors as their airtime is shifted by a half-hour, beating soundly The Tonight Show must have been gratifying for Conan following his dismissal from the show 9 months ago. Despite having direct latenight show competition for the first time, The Daily Show was pretty resilient in total viewers, down a modest 13% from its season-to-date Monday viewer average. The hit was bigger in the 18-49 demographic, 21%. Colbert at 11:30 PM followed a similar pattern (down 12% in total viewers, 25% in 18-49 from its season average.) Stewart opened his show by congratulating O’Brien on his return to TV until he “realized” Conan was airing opposite him. (video below the chart.) Read More »

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Conan’s Monologue & Cold Open On TBS

Nellie Andreeva

What Ratings Will Make ‘Conan’ A Success?

Here is a transcript of Conan O’Brien’s opening monologue as well as the opening video at tonight’s premiere of his late-night show on TBS.  The clip features dramatizations of Conan’s telling NBC brass to “go to hell” for trying to move him to 12:05 AM and of him taking TBS’ offer for “much less” as well as a Godfather spoof and scenes with Jon Hamm as  Don Draper from Mad Men and Larry King as Conan’s guardian angel.

Thank you.  Thank you and welcome to my 2nd Annual first show.

Yes, I know what you guys are thinking, “Hey, it’s the guy from Twitter.”

Welcome to my new show, “Conan.”  People ask me why I named the show “Conan.”  I did it so I’d be harder to replace.

This is an exciting night.  I’m glad to be on cable.  The truth is, I’ve dreamed of being a talk show host on basic cable ever since I was 46.

And things are going well already.  I’m happy to report that we’re already #1 in TBS’s key demographic — people who can’t afford HBO.

I’m going to be honest:  It’s not easy doing a late-night show on a channel without a lot of money and that viewers have trouble finding.  So that’s why I left NBC.

But the weird thing is this:  I put myself and my staff through a lot because I refused

Read More »

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Fans Start Camping Out For Conan Launch

Team Coco says 5 of “our most die-hardest-ever fans” are already camped out for standby tickets on Forest Lawn Drive outside the Warner Brothers lot in advance of Conan O’Bren coming back to late night television Monday at 11 PM ET/PT. “We popped over and took them some soda, granola bars, and these crazy giant TBS buttons that *laugh* when you squeeze them.” You’d think the TBS publicists could have at least collected a crowd:

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Conan O’Brien Debuts ‘Show Zero’

Nellie Andreeva

Here is Conan O’Brien’s sneak peak at his new talk show at TBS aka Show Zero, which he did online last night. Judging by the 5-minute preview, the new show will be a lot like any other late-night talk shows, with a monologue, celebrity and musical guests. Hopefully there will be some tweaks to the stodgy format or at least more of the jokes/guests and less of the intrusive Diet Coke plugs that take up most of the time in the Show Zero video.

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Conan To Air Warm-Up Show Online

Nellie Andreeva

It will be just like the real thing, with celebrity guests, members of the Basic Cable Band and sidekick Andy Richter, but online and a week earlier. On Monday, Nov.1, exactly one week before Conan O’Brien’s TBS talk show Conan is slated to premiere at 11 PM, the comedian will host Show Zero at 11 PM ET/8 PM PT, which will be streaming on,, and The webcast, which will originate from the the production offices of O’Brien’s company Conaco at Warner Bros. studios, follows the successful Live Coco Cam, a 24-hour look behind-the-scenes look at the Conan offices.

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Conan Draws Viewers With ‘Live Cam’ Stunt

Nellie Andreeva

Conan O’Brien got a solid pre-launch sampling with the 24-hour broadcast of the Live CoCo Cam from the offices of the comedian’s upcoming late-night show on TBS. According to preliminary estimates, some 660,000 viewers tuned in to check out the live stream at some point during the 24-hour window, which ended earlier today. For comparison, that is the average audience TBS gets in the 11 PM hour with George Lopez, so this should be a promising sign for Conan‘s debut on TBS on November 8. The average viewership at any time during the live CoCo Cam stream was 13,000, with thousands more watching the highlight clips on YouTube.

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Seth Rogen, Tom Hanks And Jon Hamm Among First Conan Guests

By | Thursday October 21, 2010 @ 8:34am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

UPDATED: Conan‘s bookers may still be shooting for the Pope and Russian president Vladimir Putin for the first guest spot that is being determined by a fan poll but they went with Hollywood types for the rest of the appearances on the first week of the comedian’s late-night TBS show. Here is Conan‘s first guest lineup:

Monday, Nov. 8 – Guest poll winner (this could turn out to be a joke as the choices include the Pope Putin and the current leader, the elusive Jack Nicholson), Seth Rogen and musical guest Jack White

Tuesday, Nov. 9 – Tom Hanks, Jack McBrayer and musical guest Soundgarden

Wednesday, Nov. 10 – Jon Hamm, Charlyne Yi and musical guest Fistful of Mercy

Thursday, Nov. 11 – Michael Cera, Julie Bowen and comedian Jon Dore

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UPDATE: ‘Conan’ Polls Fans For First Guest, Show’s Band Gets Name, New Bandleader

By | Tuesday October 19, 2010 @ 9:46am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

UPDATE: In a pre-launch stunt, Conan O’Brien’s team has started a poll to determine who the first guest on O’Brien’s TBS show will be. Fans can chose among 12 potential guests ranging from Pope Benedict XVI and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber to such obscure choices as the curator of Nutcracker museum in Oregon and the 2007 Nobel Prize in Chemistry winner. For those who thought the poll might be for real (BTW, Jack Nicholson, who has not appeared on a talk show in almost 30 years, is firmly in the lead with more than 1,600 votes), here is a disclaimer: “None of these people have actually been booked on our show. For one reason or another, we haven’t contacted any of these people – In fact, we’re kind of hoping that, if someone on this poll starts getting a lot of votes, these folks will actually feel a bit guilty and will agree to be our first guest!!”

PREVIOUS: The house band on Conan O’Brien’s upcoming TBS talk show will be called The Basic Cable Band. Traditionally, late-night show bands carry the name of the show they play on, and, while he was the host of The Tonight Show, Conan’s band was called The Tonight Show Band (though he already broke tradition on Late Night where he was accompanied by The Max Weinberg 7). The Basic Cable Band has a nice, off-beat ring … Read More »

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Conan O’Brien’s Explosive New TBS Promo

By | Wednesday October 13, 2010 @ 5:25pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Conan O’Brien has really broken the bank with the latest promo for his upcoming TBS latenight talk show. In the just-released video, the comedian drives an explosives (and popcorn)-filled car off a cliff in the desert while a chamber orchestra plays nearby. The promo was directed by top commercial director Bryan Buckley who has helmed some 3 dozen Super Bowl commercials, including the 2009 Bud Light spot starring Conan. He won an Emmy for the Animals American Express commercial with Ellen DeGeneres. A slightly different cut of the Conan promo is being shown at movie theaters.

Comments 78

Andy Richter Joins Conan On TBS Show

By | Tuesday October 12, 2010 @ 7:29am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Conan O’Brien’s longtime sidekick Andy Richter will join him on O’Brien’s upcoming late-night talk show on TBS, which premieres on November 8. Richter rose to fame on Late Night with Conan O’Brien on NBC where he spent 7 years before leaving in 2000 to pursue acting career. Richter reunited with O’Brien last year on The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien and on this summer’s Legally Prohibited from Being Funny on Television Tour. He was recently seen on TBS hosting Team Coco Presents: The Conan Writers Live. “I’m thrilled to be going back to work with Conan, and very excited to start a whole new venture on TBS,” Richter said. “However, I am mostly looking forward to getting out of the house again.” Conan O’Brien added, “This decision was made without my authority.  I will get to the bottom of this.” Conan will originate from Stage 15 at Warner Bros. Studios and will be produced by Conaco LLC.  Jeff Ross is the executive producer.

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