TBS' late-night team leader

Lopez-hosted hourlong show gets 34-week order to launch in the fall

TBS is throwing its hat into the increasingly crowded late-night ring with a new talk show starring actor-comic George Lopez.

The cable network has handed the as-yet-untitled project a 34-week order after seeing a presentation.

The hourlong show, which represents Lopez's return to TV after his self-titled ABC sitcom ran for six seasons, will launch in November. It will air at 11 p.m. Monday-Thursday, its second half-hour running against NBC's "The Tonight Show With Conan O'Brien" and CBS' "Late Show With David Letterman."

"If change can come to the White House, then change can come to late-night," Lopez said. "Yes I can!"

The show will feature celebrity guests, live music and comedy acts and will encourage audience members to interact with Lopez and his guests.

TBS has been testing the waters in late-night, most recently with improv comedy "10 Items or Less" and sketch comedy "Frank TV."

"We've been hunting and pecking our way around the schedule, but when you have a young, diverse and vibrant show with an insanely popular host, it allows you to go into it in a big way," said Michael Wright, head of programming at TNT and TBS.

As for TBS' existing late-night entries, the network has decided not to renew "Frank TV," while "10 Items" still is under consideration and could run at an earlier time if picked up.

The Lopez talker is from 2.2 Prods., ParaMedia and Telepictures Prods. in association with Warner Horizon TV. Lopez is exec producing with ParaMedia's Jim Paratore, the former president of Telepictures and exec vp at Warner Bros. Domestic TV Distribution who handled the syndication sale of Lopez's ABC sitcom, which ran from 2002-07.

Reruns of "George Lopez" air on Nick at Nite. (partialdiff)