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While shake-ups abound elsewhere in the late night landscape, TBS has opted to bank on stability.
The Turner network has inked a new pact with Conan O’Brien that will keep the host at TBS through 2018. A deal spanning that many years, bringing O’Brien’s total at the network to nearly eight, is a bold commitment on the part of TBS, particularly given how much fluctuation there is in the day-part. Already this year, O’Brien’s former home, NBC, has installed two new faces in its late-night time periods, while Comedy Central and CBS both are preparing to undergo significant change at 11:30 p.m. in the coming months.
“Conan has not only brought an incredibly young audience to TBS but has also created a digital presence that draws millions of fans to his unique brand of comedy,” TBS’ president of programming Michael Wright said in a statement announcing the news ahead of its upfront presentation Wednesday. “In addition, Conan has taken his show on the road for memorable weeks in New York, Atlanta and last month in Dallas, and will be breaking new ground next year when Conan becomes the first late-night show to tape at Comic-Con. We couldn’t have asked for a better late-night host or a more enthusiastic ambassador for the TBS brand.”
Though O’Brien’s TBS show, which airs nightly at 11 p.m., has lacked the kind of buzz and a-list guest roster that he once garnered at NBC, it does manage to garner an advertiser-friendly younger audience. In fact, since it bowed in late 2010, it has consistently scored a younger median age than any other hour-long talk show hosts in the late night. The show has averaged 862,000 weekly viewers thus far this year.
The network’s sales pitch, however, is focused not only on linear viewers but also on social media fans. As the network O’Brien reaches more than 18 million fans across 12 different platforms, including Twitter (10.6 million), Facebook (2.5 million), Google Plus (4.6 million) and YouTube (1.6 million).
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