Remember that time NBC offered Conan O’Brien’s 11:35 p.m. time slot to Jay Leno and it caused a huge shitstorm? Conan does, which is why he was initially reluctant to take the 11 p.m. spot on TBS’s weekday schedule, as doing so would require the cable network to push back George Lopez’s Lopez Tonight. “That sounded very similar to Jeff Gaspin coming to Conan and asking him to move back to midnight to make room for Jay,” Gavin Polone, Conan’s manager, tells MediaDecoder’s Bill Carter. That’s not how Lopez saw it, though.
Mr. Polone said he went to Mr. O’Brien to inform him of the TBS offer. “Conan said, ‘We’re not putting ourselves in the position of shoving somebody out of his show.’” That blocked the potential deal for a brief time. But that position changed after another phone call. Mr. Polone said that Mr. Lopez himself called Mr. O’Brien personally. “George called Conan to sell Conan on this idea. He was all for it. It really was George who made this happen.”
Why would Lopez want to move to midnight so badly? Less pressure? He’s already on TBS.
How the Conan O’Brien-TBS Deal Happened [Media Decoder/NYT]