Changes in store for 'Lopez Tonight'

george-lopezImage Credit: Gavin Bond/TBSThe much-anticipated debut of Conan O’Brien’s talk show Conan Nov. 8 on TBS will give George Lopez the rare opportunity to relaunch his year-old TBS talk show, Lopez Tonight, in a new midnight time slot. This season, Lopez has been in 21st place among basic-cable shows, averaging 864,000 people ages 18–49, behind 11 p.m. competitors like Family Guy reruns (1.5 million), Law & Order: SVU repeats (929,000), and The Daily Show (917,000). Now executive-produced by late-night guru Robert Morton (Late Show With David Letterman), Lopez Tonight will follow O’Brien’s production schedule—four days a week, up from three. And just like O’Brien and the other late-night hosts, Lopez will start performing live to tape.

Previously Lopez would spin his wheels in front of cameras for two and a half hours before his show was edited for broadcast. “I’m a big believer in old-school training,” Morton tells EW. “We have to make it feel like it’s happening now, live. It has to have that pace.”

Other tweaks that Morton says are in store for the show include moving the taping from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. each day to attract “better audiences” looking for that “night-out experience,” along with a new set that will separate Lopez’s desk from the performing area (“Viewers like to know the geography of a show”). Look for more conceptual funny pieces and remote packages, Morton promises, and shorter interviews. “These guys just needed liberation,” explains Morton. “I told George not to sell the comedy card too hard. He should feel free to write anything. Conan’s taking chances, so he should follow that lead.”

Lopez’s relaunch-week guests include Denzel Washington, Hilary Duff, and Bret Michaels.

For now, TBS is keeping mum about what type of ratings it hopes O’Brien’s new show will average or whether Conan is expected to eclipse The Daily Show at 11 p.m. “We expect him to be competitive,” says Michael Wright, head of programming for TBS. But Wright has no doubt that O’Brien will have an immediate impact on TBS’ existing late-night franchise. “George has done an admirable job developing a brand-new show from scratch with four different lead-ins on four different nights,” says Wright. “Audience flow is crucial. We expect Conan to be a win-win for George.”

Comments (15 total) Add your comment
  • Jo

    So basically, George will be doing a conventional late-night talk-show. I’m looking forward to it.

    • CJ Samms

      Actually, I like that Lopez Tonight is more like a variety show than a talk show. That format gives him more freedom to be creative.

      I was hoping that Conan would follow George’s lead and be less talk showy. During the writer’s strike, we so a very different and funnier Conan. I’d like to see that Conan. Otherwise, what would be the point of going to cable?

  • A

    I love having a “night-out experience” at 5:30pm.

  • Dave

    Wow, that picture of him is so unbelievably obnoxious, it makes me want to stay away from his show.

    • Ralph

      you have to be hispanic idiot

  • RR3

    In TBS George Lopez doesn’t have a chance against Craig Ferguson…
    Craig can show anyone how to make a great late late show..with hardly anything…
    he fills the first 30 minutes of his show only with his side kick…the skeleton robot Geoff….
    if you have a DVR and you can’t stay late…tape Craig Ferguson and you’ll see what we mean…

    • Kyle

      I agree Craig Ferguson (as of right now and for the rest of the week) is the best late night host on tv. I also like Jimmy but he is not as funny as Craig

      • Craig is the best

        This week, and possibly next week too. I hope Conan lives up to all the hype.

  • Kyle

    the problem is that Conan has to face off against Stewart/Colbert. All 3 have the same audience.

    • Jimminy Glick

      @Kyle Stewart/Colbert are oranges to Conan’s apple you nutjob

  • Liam Gallagher

    Why so serious?

  • Blue Silver

    This should be good. Lopez ROCKS and Conan Is awesome! This should be a helluva one-two punch!

  • Ralph

    george is hispanic but he caters to blacks and whites more than hispanics we got a whole lot of tejano musicians and not once he had any on his show or inteviewed them like,Emilio naivara,little joe,mazz,tigeres del norte,flaco jimenez,all i see are rap stars,what happen to his kind like the lonley boys,brother pete who plays christen music from texas. don’t get me wrong but the ese vato band is mostly black, why didn’t he give the job to a hispanic band,I love his show but this is the way i see his show.

  • stu

    lopez & conan r tired asses that need to stay home & count their $.
    Late night needs new blood!
    Letterman is the worse of the bunch.
    I like the Jimmies.

  • ajmanik

    is the George Lopez not available in Canada anymore? tried to watch it but says we cannot get it anymore why?

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