News that TBS has canceled Lopez Tonight isn't a total surprise. Comedian George Lopez was working it hard in recent weeks with appearances on Late Show with David Letterman (his first sit down with Dave ever!) and a memorable turn on Piers Morgan Tonight. For my money, that was one of Morgan's best CNN hours, with the host asking blunt questions and Lopez so nakedly honest it seemed like the kind intimate talk often only ever shared between the commercials.
As much of an eye opener as Lopez's TBS dismissal is after just two seasons in late night is the news that Conan O'Brien at 11 p.m. is drawing just a little ahead of what Lopez at 11 drew the season before. (A million viewers a night compared to Lopez's average of 911,000.) After all that sturm und drang and ballyhoo? Those numbers seem to back some of the chatter at press tour parties that basically could be summed up in four words: What's happened to Conan? Those dynamite, defiant, final two or three weeks of his Tonight Show have never been seen on TBS's Conan, which night after night seems more of a repeat of his far less compelling early Tonight Show hours. All that late night drama drained and wounded even Teflon Jay, but Lopez' exit should be seen as a wake up call for Team Coco that, like it or not, numbers still matter, even on cable.