Where there’s jokes, there’s fire.
Little more than a week after TBS announced a deal to give funnyman Conan O’Brien its 11 p.m. time slot, reports have surfaced that displaced host George Lopez is not as pleased as his PR might suggest to be bumped to midnight.
The New York Post’s Page Six column quoted an anonymous source stating that Lopez was unhappy about being moved, and that TBS had threatened not to renew his contract if he didn’t play along.
That source also told the column: “The Lopez camp is even more disheartened by the fact that Conan’s contract states that if Lopez’s show ‘Lopez Tonight‘ is canceled, then Conan will be able to develop a show for the midnight hour, as well … it’s in Conan’s best interest for Lopez’s show to fail.”
While the item was denied by all parties, (“false and fabricated,” said Lopez’s rep, echoing TBS’s “completely untrue”) it would explain the public graciousness on Lopez’s part, which, at the very least, raised eyebrows. Using a Papal analogy, the Washington Post suggested that Conan had “kiss[ed] Lopez’s ring.”
The Conan-Lopez charm offensive began with a TMZ item titled ‘Conan Treats Lopez with Royal Respect.’ While TMZ’s enviable reputation for accuracy adds weight to the love-shack version, the item failed to mention that ‘Lopez Tonight’ and TMZ are corporate siblings under the Warner Bros.-owned production company Telepictures. ‘Lopez Tonight’ has also been a major advertiser on TMZ.com. (AOL and PopEater also have a lingering corporate relationship with TMZ as a result of the AOL-Time Warner merger and divorce.)
Skepticism about Lopez’s true feelings was expressed in the Hollywood trade media almost immediately after Conan’s TBS deal was announced, although no alleged specifics surfaced until the Page Six item. This Hollywood Reporter piece from April 13 recalled Lopez lobbing some zingers at Conan as his ‘Tonight Show‘ deal was falling apart at NBC, and marveling that “a Mexican talk-show host would have the most job security in town.”
Which, as it turned out, didn’t last long.
Celebrities Weigh-in on Conan O’Brien’s New Deal:
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