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late shifting

Is Late Afternoon the New Cone-Zone?

Could Conan O'Brien end up replacing Oprah? Maybe! The host, who's about to embark on his Legally Prohibited From Being Funny on TV tour, is presently considering several options for his return to television, says the Hollywood Reporter: "a late-night show on Fox, a syndicated series — possibly in a pre-primetime slot — and a cable show." Sure, the Fox thing seems like his most likely option, but the syndication company Dunbar-Mercury has been actively courting O'Brien, and have enticed him with the knowledge that lax restrictions in the 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. period would allow him to push the envelope with edgy material. In addition to greater creative freedom, O'Brien could stand to gain a larger audience during these hours. For one thing, more people are awake in the afternoon, and he would not be dividing his audience between other similar programs, as he would in overcrowded late night. Even better, with Oprah ending her show in 2011, Conan could potentially inherit her spot on several affiliates. Also, four words: Masturbating Bear's Book Club.

Fox-O'Brien talks still in preliminary stages [HR]

Photo: Courtesy of NBC