Lopez May Be A Winner In Conan's Latest Move Conan O'Brien's new 11 p.m. talk show on TBS may be a blessing for George Lopez, who has to move to midnight but gets a great lead-in for Lopez Tonight. TV writer Lisa de Moraes of The Washington Post looks at the latest game of late-night musical chairs.
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Lopez May Be A Winner In Conan's Latest Move

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Lopez May Be A Winner In Conan's Latest Move

Lopez May Be A Winner In Conan's Latest Move

Lopez May Be A Winner In Conan's Latest Move

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/125988709/125988698" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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Actor and comedian George Lopez is host of "Lopez Tonight" on TBS. Matt Sayles/AP hide caption

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Matt Sayles/AP

Actor and comedian George Lopez is host of "Lopez Tonight" on TBS.

Matt Sayles/AP

Late-night talk show hosts have been playing musical chairs again, and most of the focus this week has been back on Conan O'Brien, who will have a new 11 p.m. show on the cable network TBS.

But what does it mean for George Lopez, who will move to midnight on TBS just a few months after his show, Lopez Tonight, was hailed for striking a blow for diversity?

So far, Lopez is publicly behind the move. He told Larry King Tuesday night that his initial reaction to the proposal was that it was "terrific."

Lisa de Moraes, television writer for The Washington Post, tells NPR's Michel Martin that Lopez probably has reason to be supportive.

"I think that George Lopez actually stands to gain by this move," de Moraes says. "Having Conan as his lead-in will surely deliver him a much more compatible and larger audience than having Family Guy and The Office reruns, which is the current situation."

De Moraes describes Lopez's numbers in his current time slot as "cable-niche." He reaches about 800,000 viewers on cable, while O'Brien pulled 2.6 million in the fourth quarter for NBC before Jay Leno returned to the helm of The Tonight Show.

"I'm not suggesting he's going to bring all 2.6 million with him, but if he brings more than half of that, then this is actually a win situation for George Lopez," de Moraes says. "Your biggest enemy in late-night TV is people going to bed. And the number of homes using TV in the later time slots is less. But in theory, he's going to be delivered a much bigger audience."

"TBS is in the business of delivering as many sets of eyeballs as possible to advertisers, and Conan O'Brien is going to get a larger audience than George Lopez is," she says. "I think the important thing to focus on is what this potentially could do for Lopez."

Meanwhile, O'Brien will be going head to head with The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, the one-two Comedy Central lineup at 11 p.m. that has made folk icons of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert.

De Moraes sizes the competition up this way:

"Conan's audience skews young and the kind of numbers he was doing are definitely going to be very competitive to The Daily Show," she says. "He absolutely is going to be a very formidable challenge."