Fox is still coaxing its affiliates into letting Conan O’Brien start a late night franchise on the network.
So while executives and station managers waffle on the ousted host, Conan’s team of negotiators are exploring their options at other networks including Starz and Showtime.
Bloomberg’s BusinessWeek reports: Team Conan, which includes manager Gavin Polone and William Morris endeavour Entertainment agent Rick Rosen, has chatted up pay cable channels Starz and Showtime on deals similar to the show Bill Maher hosts on HBO, three sources with knowledge of the talks say. Read more at BusinessWeek >
Dan Frommer over at SAI told us way back in January that a pay channel like HBO would be an excellent home for the offbeat comedian. Bring back the unleashed, uncensored Conan!
But there are few problems here:
- Conan’s exposure would be sequestered to a small audience of paying cable subscribers. His army of online fans, gearing up for his comeback in September, have grown closer to the host on the Web during the past few months. They would get cut off unless they paid up.
- One solution? Dan offered this one: A pay channel “could work a deal with Hulu or iTunes to make the new, R-rated Conan show available online the next day, that might be a happy middle ground.” Yes, that would make us very happy.
- A Bill Maher-style show means Conan would be abandoning a nightly show. Real Time with Bill Maher is a weekly show.
- Perhaps pay channels like Starz and Showtime can’t afford to pay Conan and his league of staffers. NBC paid $50 million to produce The Tonight Show, and Conan was paid $12.5 million salary.
Where ever Conan lands, we are sure his fans will tune in. They will just have to wait until September.
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