Dear Conan:
Welcome to cable, Coco!! It’s about time you left that ole’ broadcast dinosaur behind and got on the cable juggernaut. After all, the only fans who ever watched your show on over-the-air broadcast were either camping or tailgating. TBS rocks, dude. Tyler Perry. George Lopez. All that other “Very Funny” stuff on there. And now you… Conan O’Brien. Kind of a bummer that intellectual property law prohibits you from bringing over any of the sketches or characters you developed on your old show. But hey—you already turned that bear into a panda on your live tour. Next up: Victory, the Insult Cat.
Heard that you resisted TBS at first because you didn’t want to push George out of his 11 pm slot. Yeah, we get the irony. I guess it took a call from George to convince you that he was cool with moving to midnight. Of course he was! Now he’s got you as a lead-in. His youthful audience will mesh perfectly with yours. You guys gotta do some sketches together—you know, like your competition over at Comedy Central, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. And has an Irish guy ever had a better opportunity to tap the Latino community? Do you think there will be more or fewer Latinos watching TV in the next 20 years? Exactly. More. Very Money.
And just a few pointers about cable. First of all, TBS ain’t premium cable—so you’re still going to have to keep those bits clean for the family audience. That shouldn’t be a problem for you, but I just didn’t want you to think you could come out and do a satirical mash-up of “Spartacus” and “The Tudors”—all against the modern-day backdrop of “Tell Me You Love Me.” Wow. Let’s think about that a second. OK. Probably a bad idea on any network but interesting as an artistic concept. Also, don’t believe the hype about smaller audiences on cable. TBS is up there with the broadcast nets on several ratings fronts. And again, it’s a cooler audience. Tip number three: You’ll love Steve Koonin and the whole Turner gang. Stand up folks. And one of the most savvy teams in TV. They will promote the heck out of you and your show across various Turner nets, during big sports events and other high-profile venues.
As for Fox Broadcasting, it wasn’t meant to be. By the way, that’s no reflection on the Fox team, which is also among the best and would have unleashed its promotional muscle across a similar array of assets and networks. But Fox’s local broadcast affiliates were tied into those syndication and ad deals for the 11pm slot. It would have been difficult to unravel them to make room for you in major markets across the country. Fox also would have been a fabulous partner. But the stars just didn’t line up. Anyway, I just wanted to welcome you to the cable family. Your first issue of CableFAX is on the way. Seth and I will also check our calendars to see when we’re available to come on your show. But, you know… we’re kinda busy.
(Michael Grebb is executive editor of CableFAX)

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