For the first time, talk show host George Lopez reveals details about his conversation with Conan O’Brien before Coco joined TBS and RadarOnline.com has the highlights of how Conan wanted to make sure that George wasn’t getting “Lenoed.”
Lopez, who has a successful late night talk show on TBS, was called by the president of the network before Conan was given the job and was told “If I don’t have your blessing this deal does not go forward.” Lopez said on CNN’s Larry King Live Tuesday night.
Lopez then called Conan to talk about the plan to build them as a team. “I believe this combination –almost a same sex Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball, if you will—will take late night into a new generation and change the landscape. And, Larry, I’m a Latino, I know something about landscape. It’s going to be fantastic come November.”
George then revealed what he and Conan talked about for the first time: “What he was concerned with was that he wasn’t going to do to me what was done to him at NBC. That was his biggest concern.”
He went on to say, “I’m not getting Lenoed,” referring to Jay Leno’s return to NBC’s Tonight Show, which put Conan O’Brien out of job with a $32.5 million paycheck. “I welcome Conan. I think moving to midnight—hey going to work an hour later it’s a dream come true, and the pay’s the same.”
Lopez thinks it’s creative freedom that ultimately convinced Conan to take the cable gig. “I know the one thing that was important to him was the freedom of doing a show that was edgy that was a vision of his own show like what we do at Lopez Tonight.”
Ever the comedian, Lopez joked “he’s on earlier, he needs to get done earlier and get some sun; eventually I want us to be the same color!”
Since Lopez gracefully gave up the 11 p.m. slot to Conan and moves to midnight in November, Lopez predicted that his contract would be renewed for another year. It was due to expire in a couple of weeks.