Last week, George Lopez was lined up to be one of the biggest stars at this weekend's Outback Steakhouse Pro-Am in Lutz.
Then things got a little more interesting.
On Monday, TBS announced that TV's biggest free agent, Conan O'Brien, would join Lopez in its relatively new late-night lineup. Lopez's talk show, Lopez Tonight, would move from 11 p.m. to midnight, with O'Brien's show airing at 11 p.m. starting in November.
It's been a busy few days for Lopez — but not so busy that he couldn't squeeze in a trip to Tampa for his third Outback Pro-Am appearance. After his round Friday, we chatted with Lopez, 48, about what he's calling "Team Lo-Co."
Walk me through what this week has been like for you.
You know, it's been pretty interesting — all for the better. I never imagined Conan would come to TBS. I thought the Fox deal was a done deal. I believe they weren't as aggressive after him; they had to clear some affiliates. And TBS is now in a position to really make a significant imprint in late-night TV. Midnight, to me, is the same as 11 o'clock. I just want to do a good show. I think we've been doing good shows, and if I was not doing good shows, I think everybody would know about it. We've had a good week, ratings-wise.
I saw some people online speculating that you didn't really want Conan to come to TBS.
No, that's all wrong. It's funny, because you hear it from the guy's lips, and they still don't believe it. I don't have issue one with Conan coming to TBS. I love it. Look at Johnny and Letterman, and Conan and Leno, and Ferguson and Letterman. It all works better in a block. And really, it's only TV. It's not real life. There are people out there with real issues. We're just trying to entertain.
This is pretty much the splashiest move they've made since Lopez Tonight, right?
This was, for me, a validation. I've got a partner starting in November, and we're both young guys. Letterman just turned 63, Leno's in his early 60s (ed. note: Leno turns 60 on April 28). It does make a difference in the audience. Their average audience is in their late 50s; my average audience is 33 years old. That's the target that advertisers want.
You've done network, you've done cable. Conan has only done network. How do you think he'll adjust?
He'll love it. It's like a fresh spring water. He can create a show that he wants to do. You don't have a studio after you, you don't have to worry about advertisers so much. It's more lenient, and it's really about being able to have a good time.
A visit with Vince
Jay Cridlin also had a chance to chat with country crooner Vince Gill, who bears a striking resemblance to Jay. "Oh yeah," Gill said. "I can see that. We got happy cheeks." Read the Q&A at blogs.tampabay.com/tbt.