Turner Entertainment seems to try hardest to make advertisers laugh at its upfront presentation — and generally succeeded this time with help from Will Ferrell, Conan O’Brien, and TBS newcomer Pete Holmes. In a recorded routine, Ferrell said that he had bought the company and with his background in comedy “I couldn’t care less” about networks including CNN, TNT, and TruTv. Since “I like to mess around with my new toys,” he introduced the new boss: Charles Barkley. The former NBA star said that since “I’m in charge now” viewers would be “seeing a lot more Charles Barkley” — cutting to clips from Turner shows that insert him into the action. “This is the kind of bold thinking I was hoping for,” Ferrell said. “With me as CEO of Turner, and Charles, can you really go wrong?”
Conan O’Brien’s late-night TBS show is getting a companion. The network has ordered a four-week run of a new untitled late-night comedy series starring comedian Pete Holmes and produced by O’Brien’s Conaco production company, which is also behind O’Brien’s talker Conan. The Pete Holmes series will launch in fall 2013 and air four nights a week (Monday-Thursday) at midnight, following Conan. Taped before a live studio audience, the new show will combine sketches, short films, live comedy, field pieces and in-studio guest interviews. O’Brien, Jeff Ross, David Kissinger, Nick Bernstein and Dave Rath executive produce.
Conaco has had the right to program the slot after Conan as part of O’Brien’s original deal with TBS, which he signed in 2010, shortly after his exit from NBC. The agreement mirrors that of David Letterman’s production company Worldwide Pants, which owns/produces both Late Show and Late Late Show. Conaco’s initial focus was on getting Conan off the ground, with TBS airing various repeats after it. It gradually began exploring potential companions, with TBS ordering a pilot for a Holmes-fronted talk show in July. “Pete Holmes is an enormously likable performer with an agile and innovative mind,” said O’Brien. “I’m really looking forward to his show, and I’ve already had my son program my DVR.”