The host's new show will debut in November

By Lynette Rice
Updated April 16, 2010 at 04:00 AM EDT

On April 12, TBS announced that it had quietly closed a deal with O’Brien to host an 11 p.m. talk show starting in November (both TBS and EW are owned by Time Warner). Though many in Hollywood expected O’Brien to land at Fox, the network couldn’t persuade its affiliates to give up airing lucrative reruns in the 11 p.m. time period. Seeing an opening, TBS checked with its fledging late-night star, George Lopez — who agreed to move to midnight from 11 p.m. — before offering the gig to O’Brien last week. ”George said he was going to call Conan and tell him we’re pretty good dudes to work with,” says Steve Koonin, Turner Entertainment Networks president. ”Once he made that call, it was like somebody shot off a starter’s pistol, the race began, and we crossed the finish line.” (Promos have already begun running.) O’Brien will be given free rein at TBS, promises Koonin, and will bring along his producing partner Jeff Ross to help launch the Monday-through-Thursday show. With Lopez attracting a median age of 34, TBS seems a good fit for the younger-skewing O’Brien. ”We’re 10 years younger than Fox, 18 years younger than CBS and NBC,” says Koonin. ”I have zero doubts that Conan will be successful for us.”