Conan Launches His On The Way To Tbs Tour
"This is the first time anyone has paid to see me," Conan O'Brien remarked as he launched his 30-city The Legally Prohibited From Being Funny on Television Tour in Eugene, OR Monday, then added, "They've paid me to go away." The tour began, coincidentally or not, on the same day that it was announced that O'Brien would launch a new late-night talk show in November -- not on Fox Television, which he was expected to call home, but on Turner Entertainment's TBS -- and what they are paying him has yet to emerge. Today's (Tuesday) Los Angeles Times reported that O'Brien will have ownership of his show, just as David Letterman has ownership of his. "That will give him the potential to make a lot more money than if he were just a hired hand hosting a show owned by a network," the Times observed, noting that the deal is for five years. Indeed, Turner Entertainment Networks President Steve Koonin noted in an interview with Advertising Age that TBS doesn't need to draw the same-size audience as a broadcast network "to be very, very, very successful" with O'Brien. On NBC, O'Brien averaged just 2.92 million viewers -- putting him in third place behind CBS's David Letterman and ABC's Nightline . But on cable, the Washington Post' s Lisa De Moraes noted today, such "numbers would have made him a rock star." Jon Stewart's The Daily Show , she observed, averages 1.7 million viewers. Meanwhile, Broadcasting & Cable magazine reported today that managers at Fox affiliates are expressing relief that O'Brien will be going elsewhere and that they will not have to juggle their schedules to accommodate his arrival. At the NAB-RTDNA show in Las Vegas, the trade magazine said, "one exec at a Fox affiliate uttered a hearty 'Amen!' upon hearing the news."