TBS extends Conan deal through ‘15


Conan O’Brien (Frederick M. Brown/GETTY IMAGES)

In early 2012, TBS reportedly re-upped O’Brien’s contract through 2014.

The cable network said in Monday’s announcement that the extension “further solidifies” the ongoing relationship between the network and the popular last-night host, and noted his audience has a younger median age than that of any other late night talk show.

According to TBS, Team Coco’s show draws more than 8.3 million followers on Twitter, 2 million fans on Face book, 2 million unique users each month on TeamCoco.com, and 15 million video views each month on TeamCoco.com and YouTube.

Conan, you’ll recall, was the first guy to replace Jay Leno on NBC’s “Tonight Show”; he lasted seven months, to disappointing ratings, leading NBC to announce it would return Jay to late night and push Coco-hosted “Tonight” to a later timeslot. Conan walked instead.

When Conan’s TBS late-night came back from hiatus late last month — his week-long hiatus having coincidentally coincided with breaking news that NBC plans to replace Leno next year with Jimmy Fallon, Coco stayed strangely silent on the subject, gagging instead about Bill Gates, Passover, the new Pope, etc.

When Conan premiered on TBS in November of ‘10, more than 4 million tuned in. By the end of that calendar year, it was averaging slightly more than a million viewers and the median age of his audience was about 32 years. TBS suits said they were happy with those stats, and “Conan” could go on forever with them.

But the numbers fell under 1 million — dropping below 800,000 at times, and, from fall of ’11 through end end of March, Conan averaged 960,000 viewers, with a median age of 34.4 years.

To prop up his ratings, TBS bought rerun rights to “The Big Bang Theory” which became his lead-in — at a reported cost of $2 million an episode. Fall of ’12 through March of ’13, he’s averaged 910,000 viewers, but his audience aged up — median age is now 39.7 years, owing most likely to the older-skewing “Big Bang” lead-in.

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