The late-night guessing game is over, with a startling twist: Conan O'Brien has chosen TBS as his future talk-show home.
Talk show host randomly chooses to follow 19-year-old Sarah Killen.Expected to debut in November, the as-yet-untitled show will return O'Brien to the air after an absence that began in January when he abruptly left NBC, his employer of 17 years.
O'Brien's new program will air Mondays through Thursdays at 11 p.m. Eastern, which will shift "Lopez Tonight," starring George Lopez, from 11 p.m. EDT to midnight.
O'Brien's show will originate from Los Angeles, where he moved from New York for his short-lived stint hosting "The Tonight Show." For the second half of each show, he will face off against Jay Leno, who replaced him.
The five-year contract gives O'Brien ownership of the show, according to a person familiar with the deal who spoke on condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized to publicly discuss it.
"The good news: I will be doing a show on TBS starting in November! The bad news: I'll be playing Rudy on the all new Cosby Show," he posted on Twitter.
TBS said that talks with O'Brien accelerated last week after Lopez called O'Brien to ask him to come aboard.
"I can't think of anything better than doing my show with Conan as my lead-in. It's the beginning of a new era in late-night comedy," Lopez said in a statement released by TBS.
Steve Koonin, president of Turner Entertainment Networks, said he flew from Atlanta to George Lopez's office on the Warner Bros. lot in Los Angeles last Wednesday to enlist the comedian's help.
Koonin pitched Lopez on the idea that both he and O'Brien are in their 40s (O'Brien turns 47 on Sunday) and appeal to a young demographic, while Leno and David Letterman are older and play to an older crowd.
"He got very excited," Koonin said. "George saw the vision."