TBS landed the final TV show deal with Conan after just 10 days of negotiations. Despite months of talks, Fox’s top dog executives Peter Rice and Kevin Reilly couldn’t make it happen.So what happened?
Fox’s affiliates are the main culprits.
The stations already have 11 p.m. shows in what would be Conan’s late night timeslot. They air their own news broadcasts or are tangled up in syndication deals to air shows like The Office, Seinfeld, 30 Rock, or others.
The stations also sold advertising against those shows and were ushering in decent ratings for their evening newscasts.
Those shows in Fox’s 11:30 p.m. timeslot bring in ratings on par with NBC’s Tonight Show numbers in the same hour, as Broadcasting & Cable tells us. What’s more:
From B&C: The stations keep far more ad inventory in that hour now than they would if they were forced to give it up to Fox. Every half-hour syndicated show offers stations as much as six minutes of advertising inventory to sell, while a half-hour of network inventory typically offers only about a minute.
Affiliates said they could lose millions if they took on Conan.
The New York Times reported that Conan’s show would only be on about 60% of Fox channels for several years because of the syndication issues.
But insiders told Deadline.com that Fox was trying to find other ways to bring Conan into News Corp. Fox’s sister cable station FX was working on a presentation to Team Conan the day the TBS deal was announced, according to Deadline.
But Fox simply couldn’t make the deal happen as fast as TBS did.
TBS was in constant contact with Conan’s team, offering him face time with almost every market in the country, tons of ad and marketing money and deep support from top to bottom.
Although Fox executives might be upset about the news, not everybody is crying over red hair. B&C’s Michael Malone heard one exec at a Fox affiliate utter a hearty ‘Amen!’ upon hearing the news.
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