Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Late Night Wars - Conan to TBS

Conan wouldn't move from 11p to 12a, but George Lopez will. And so the late night arena gets even more crowded. Are there enough guests to go around? Or will this proliferation kill the genre. How each show differentiates itself from its rivals and finds its audience will be crucial to success.

Fox was the first option but their 11pm slot is filled with very successful syndicated programming. Why switch a ratings winner with an unknown quantity. For TBS, Conan brings more legitimacy to the late night arena. Still, I would have loved to see him try a show earlier in the night. A show at 7pm, when the audience is awake, might have been an opportunistic move. And with the rise of DVR and VOD, the show could be watched later in the evening by its audience. And it would avoid the clutter, too.

Will Conan be successful? Hard to say. As he may have learned from NBC, his success may just depend on his lead in. Without compelling program beforehand, viewers may be reluctant to turn the channel just to see him. It didn't work with Jay Leno in front of him; hopefully, he has a better chance at TBS.