Late-night mainstay Conan O’Brien is headed to TBS to resume his comedic duties with a talk show expected to debut in November, the network says.
The program will air Mondays through Thursdays at 11 p.m. Eastern, shifting TBS’ “Lopez Tonight,” starring George Lopez, to midnight.
Lopez welcomed Conan on Monday, Tweeting, “I welcome @conanObrien to his new home at TBS .. A new generation of late night is about to begin !!”
Monday’s surprise announcement hit the same day O’Brien starts a two-month, nationwide comedy tour in Eugene, Ore., amid persistent reports that he was likely to claim Fox as his new late-night home.
Barring Fox, syndication was widely considered O’Brien’s most likely option. Few if anyone mentioned TBS as a plausible destination.
O’Brien began serious talks with TBS just last week, the network said.
“In three months, I’ve gone from network television to Twitter to performing live in theaters, and now I’m headed to basic cable,” O’Brien said in a tongue-in-cheek-toned statement. “My plan is working perfectly.”
O’Brien left NBC in January after hosting “The Tonight Show” for just eight months, as his ratings plunged from those of his longtime “Tonight” predecessor, Jay Leno, who reclaimed the hour. Until last June, O’Brien had followed Leno as host of “Late Night” since 1993.
OBrien’s parting deal bars him from appearing on TV until September.