TBS extends Conan O’Brien through 2015
Turner Broadcasting has extended “Conan” through November 2015, solidifying the network’s relationship with late night host Conan O’Brien.
Time Warner-owned Turner scooped up the red-haired O’Brien in 2010 shortly after red-faced NBC executives displaced the comic to shuffle Jay Leno back into his longtime perch at 11:35 p.m. on “The Tonight Show.” O’Brien had hosted NBC’s marquee late night program for seven months, but ratings proved to be an issue.
O’Brien’s ratings on TBS are not huge either -- the show is averaging 906,000 viewers an episode. But TBS said it was pleased the show has one of the youngest audiences of any traditional late-night talk program.
“When we invited Conan O’Brien to come to TBS, we knew he would bring with him a passionately loyal following of young adults,” Michael Wright, president of programming for TBS, TNT and Turner Classic Movies, said in a statement.
In contrast, Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” averages about 2.6 million viewers an episode. The “Daily Show” spinoff “The Colbert Report” draws about 1.9 million viewers an episode. The two Comedy Central programs also rank first and second among viewers ages 18 to 34.
The median age of O’Brien’s audience is 39, which is a much younger and more fickle flock than those who tune in for Leno on NBC or David Letterman on CBS. “Conan” is produced on the Warner Bros. lot in Burbank.
O’Brien might have the last laugh, too. In a repeat of NBC’s 2010 late-night drama, NBC once again is making arrangements to push Leno into retirement. Leno, who continues to be the most-watched talk-show host, has pushed back, ridiculing NBC executives and ratings in his monologues. Leno’s contract ends next year.
With his recent contract extension, O’Brien is expected to survive at least a year longer than Leno.
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