Reevaluating Conan’s Move To TBS

This past weekend, Conan “secretly” went to Comic Con to unveil his new endeavor, The Flaming C.  It was an idea that was generated for his show Conan that is being spun-off into an animated movie, something that was not done during his tenure at NBC.  While evaluating new opportunities and projects, it is now clear that he didn’t go to TBS; he went to Warner Bros.

Conan’s marketability took off once he was being forced out of The Tonight Show.  Fans created graphics, social networking groups, and rallying cries in support.  The “I’m With Coco” poster replaced many Facebook profile pictures.  Conan utilized his newfound status with his Legally Prohibited From Being Funny On Television Tour that sold out across the country.  Conan wasn’t just being watched: he was directly making money.

When it came time to decide where his next place on TV would be, everybody thought it would be on FOX, a broadcast network where he wouldn’t have been saddled by The Tonight Show’s tradition.  Instead, Conan surprised everybody by choosing TBS, a middling cable network that blinded everybody from the truth: he chose a “360” deal over higher ratings.

It’s no mistake that his show is simply called Conan.  Instead of offering the same deal at NBC (a show and a first-look production deal), Warner Bros turned him into a brand.  The animated film hints at his role as passive producer, because The Flaming C is voiced by another actor.  In the Comic Con video posted above, organizers were offering oven mitts and capes that he actually seemed surprised to see.

As blogs have been reporting, late night talk shows have been reduced to popular YouTube clips.  Late Night with Jimmy Fallon is doing some great and innovative stuff, but they are not producing anything other than a compilation book and web series on his own site.  With Conan, it seems like the show has now become a fertile ground for cross-platform ideas.  Instead of taking jokes and repackaging them, Conan is offering something new altogether.  So while people question Conan’s move to TBS, it’s his move to Warner Bros that should be examined.


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