Conan O’Brien opened the much-anticipated TBS-TNT upfront presentation in New York today with yuks about NBC (“The plot to Lost is more plausible than my last year at NBC”) and his new talk show that will debut on TBS on Nov. 8. “I really believe in cable television,” O’Brien told the crowd at the Hammerstein Ballroom. ” I do not want to live in a country with less than five ESPN networks.”
He didn’t reveal anything about his new show, which will serve as a lead-in to the second season of George Lopez, but he did joke about what he’d like to accomplish. “My vision is to pick up where Hee Haw left off,” O’Brien quipped before breaking into his version of “On the Road Again” by singing, “I just want to be on my own show again.”
The digs at NBC weren’t limited to just O’Brien. When Turner Entertainment Networks president Steve Koonin took the stage, he thanked Jay Leno for making it possible for him to snag both Conan and the cop drama Southland (which aired at 10 p.m. on NBC before the late-night comedian took over the time slot). A new season of Southland will begin on TNT in 2011.
This summer, TNT will air seven new or returning originals on four different nights (The Closer, Saving Grace, Dark Blue, Leverage, Memphis Beat, Rizzoli & Isles, and HawthoRNe), and it will bring back Men of a Certain Age later this season. In 2011, the network will debut a new series from Steven Spielberg and starring Noah Wyle called Fallen Skies. It also greenlit the buddy lawyer series Franklin & Bash starring Mark-Paul Gosselaar (NYPD Blue).
TBS’s lineup includes the original series My Boys, Are We There Yet? and the new animated series Neighbors From Hell. TBS also acquired the exclusive cable rights to The Big Bang Theory, beginning in fall 2011, and greenlit the original series Glory Daze, a 1980s-set comedy that centers on four buddies who navigate college life and pledge a fraternity.