[Updated to include quote from Turner PR executive and ratings figures]
Upon further review, George Lopez might not be so happy that Conan O”Brien joined him on TBS late night as the network announced Wednesday (Aug. 10) that “Lopez Tonight” is canceled. The last episode of the talk show will air Thursday (Aug. 11).
In a statement, the network says, “TBS has reached the difficult decision not to order a third season of ‘Lopez Tonight.’ Thursday will be the final episode of the show. We are proud to have partnered with George Lopez, who is an immensely talented comedian and entertainer. TBS has valued its partnership with George and appreciates all of his work on behalf of the network, both on and off the air.”
Tuner Entertainment Networks SVP of Public Relations Karen Cassell explained, “The reason we did [canceled ‘Lopez Tonight’] today is were were at the contractural pick up date early next week.”
Calls to Lopez’s publicists seeking comment have not been returned.
Lopez’s show was TBS’s first foray into the already crowded late-night talk circuit. When the show hit the air Nov. 9, 2009, it initially drew strong ratings boosted by a strong guest list of Eva Longoria, Kobe Bryant and Carlos Santana. But ratings tapered off after the early surge of interest, and according to network executives, viewership was down 28 percent with adults 18-34 from Season 1 to Season 2. The show has been averaging only about 400,00 viewers per night of late.
And then Conan O’Brien happened.
After O’Brien’s high-profile exit from NBC’s “Tonight Show,” the red-haired one quickly began looking for his next home. TBS came calling and O’Brien announced his move to the cable channel. This meant that when O’Brien was allow to return to the air on Nov. 8, 2010, “Lopez Tonight” would be pushed back from 11 p.m. to midnight.
Lopez put out a statement endorsing the deal, but it marked the beginning of the end for his tenure with the network.
“I can’t think of anything better than doing my show with Conan as my lead-in,” Lopez said at the time. “It’s the beginning of a new era in late-night comedy.”
That era of late-night comedy apparently is ending very soon.