Conan O’Brien Finds New Home at TBS

“In three months I’ve gone from network television to Twitter to performing live in theaters, and now I’m headed to basic cable. My plan is working perfectly.”

Yesterday’s big entertainment buzz was all about Conan O’Brien and his upcoming move to TBS. Naturally, I was very much Team Coco when NBC pulled the switcheroo on their Tonight Show hosts, so I’m thrilled that Conan’s got a brand new place to go once he returns from his live tour.

I’ll admit, however, that when I heard it wasn’t going to be FOX and that TBS was getting Coney, I was slightly…nervous? Put off? Uncertain? After all, it’s not exactly known for…well, anything except syndicated sitcoms or some truly terrible syndicated comedy.

Fortunately, the folks at Entertainment Weekly feel my pain and the pain of all other Coco fans feeling grim about TBS and thus have written a pretty great article about why we should all be very, very happy…

With the news that Conan O’Brien will start a show on TBS in November, there are going to be a lot of people dubious about his decision and scoffing at his new chosen network. Here’s why you shouldn’t.


1. Conan will get a big audience.

I mean by comparison. From the moment he premieres, given the outreach of basic cable combined with TBS’ easy-to-locate position on most cable systems, O’Brien will immediately draw more viewers than Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert. (And if you think TBS’ 10-11 p.m. line-up of Family Guy and The Office reruns is a poor lead-in for Conan, just remember that Comedy Central’s South Park reruns and stand-up-comic specials don’t do Stewart and Colbert any favors, either.)
Conan won’t come close to Leno and Letterman in ratings, of course. But the perception (that combo of hype, demos, and word-of-mouth) will be that Conan is a hit. And perception counts for a lot. It’s what makes some of you think Jon Stewart, as good as he is, out-draws your local news at 11. He doesn’t.


2. Conan instantly makes a square cable channel seem hip.

Hip and cool have always been important to O’Brien and his audience, even if they don’t admit it. If there’s one thing we learned about Conan from his Tonight Show run, it’s that O’Brien is an acquired taste for mass America. Being on TBS enables O’Brien to bestow his hipness upon a low-rent cable channel. And if there’s one thing we learned about Conan’s audience from his Tonight Show run, it’s that they love to consider themselves a beleaguered cult of cognoscenti. Well, Conan’s arrival at TBS will enable Team Coco to do something cults love: take something that’s considered lame and single handedly raise it to cool status.


3. The alternative — Fox — would likely have been a disaster.

As I’ve written before, Fox has never launched a successful late-night talk show, and Conan would have immediately been discussed in the media in the same breath as such failures as the Chevy Chase and Joan Rivers shows. That’s not good publicity. Plus, the lead-in Fox outlets would have provided (some of them grumpily) for O’Brien is, in most markets, its local news, not the biggest ratings-gatherers. It’s far better for Conan to mount a fresh version of his old show in a new outlet, which is what TBS provides.

Conans: The Barbarian + O’Brien

There’s a brand new arrival over in our Conan the Barbarian section on CmdStore.com, which comes as a surprise to me given the distance between this and the ending of the films. The titular Barbarian, after all, has become Governor of California and seems very far removed from his axe-swinging past. Nevertheless, fans can snag this 6-inch NECA Cult Classic figure of Temple of the Serpent Conan.

A likely explanation for the renewed interest in the franchise, though, comes with the all the recent news about the Conan the Barbarian reboot film (Hollywood sure is creative!). The most recent info informs us that Mickey Rourke might be playing Conan’s father, but we shall see whether any of that pans out come 2011.

There’s also the story of another newly-arriving Conan. Namely, this one:

He’s on Twitter! Find him at @ConanOBrien to add him to your twit-list. Here’s the news from Zap2it:

Conan O’Brien, who made fun of Twitter a whole bunch during his “Tonight Show” stint, has joined Twitter.

The sum total of his output (Twitter has verified it’s actually O’Brien) as of 11 a.m. PT Thursday is a single tweet: “Today I interviewed a squirrel in my backyard and then threw to commercial. Somebody help me.” But that single update — funny, and also a little bit heartbreaking — has been enough to collect more than 260,000 followers — more than three times as many as the official NBC/Jay Leno page (@jayleno).

Now, a big Twitter following has very little to do with TV ratings. We just found the numbers interesting, and perhaps an indication that members of Team Coco are still thinking about their guy. Plus, the profile picture is a good one, with O’Brien sporting his hiatus beard and a chimpanzee hanging onto his neck.

As part of his exit deal from NBC, O’Brien has to stay off the air until September. There have been rumblings about him doing a live stage show, but no concrete plans for it have emerged.

Cubeecraft.com: Free Paper Dolls!

If you like the look of that cubic Dark Knight-style Joker, then you’ll definitely want to check out Cubeecraft.com‘s awesome pop culture section, where the already adorable Cubee’s take on the roles of your favourite film, TV, comic or video game characters or items. From the 1960s Batman to Stephen Colbert, the Princess Bride’s Fezzick to Earthbound’s Ness, this site really does seem to have something for everyone.

If you like ’em, you can also check out Cubeecraft on Facebook, Twitter, DeviantArt and Myspace, all of which are great ways to keep in touch with the site and find out about new developments and new releases. This is definitely a good plan if you’re a fan of the site, because there are occasionally limited edition Cubee’s that you’ll definitely want to get your hands on.