Thursday, August 18, 2011

TBS' Plan to Prop Up Conan's Ratings

THR -- Conan O’Brien’s first season on TBS has been a pricey flop with viewership of Conan down by about 60 percent since a high-profile debut last fall, the Wall Street Journal said on Thursday.

Time Warner-owned TBS, which the Journal said has committed to a second season and may start negotiations about a potential third season as soon as within the next six months, expressed confidence in the comedian though. The paper also highlighted that the cable network has spent to prop up Conan with the Big Bang Theory as a lead-in.

In July, O'Brien averaged approximately 685,000 viewers in the 18-49 demo, fewer than such cable competitors as Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart and broadcast rivals Letterman and Leno.

TBS, which saw its viewership among 18- to 49-year-olds drop 11 percent this past TV season, hired O'Brien for more than $12 million per year in 2010 after he left NBC.

"We want TBS to be a leading comedy brand," Koonin said before acknowledging: "How we get to that destination we don't have 100 percent mapped out today."

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