After three years and 139 episodes of Lopez Tonight, TBS is pulling the plug on George Lopez's ratings-challenged late-night talk show. The abrupt cancellation — it was announced Wednesday that Thursday's episode would be the last — comes less than one year after Lopez Tonight was bumped from its 11 p.m. time slot to make room for Conan O'Brien's new talk show. Since Lopez' show took over the midnight slot, it's been consistently beaten in the ratings by Nickelodeon re-runs of the '90s children's show All That. Is the demise of Lopez Tonight O'Brien's fault?
Yes. This is death by redhead: Moving Lopez Tonight to midnight has hurt it, says James Poniewozik at TIME, especially considering that O'Brien's lead-in ratings have been declining, too. But "the writing may have been on the wall" since TBS hired O'Brien in the first place. It's unlikely that TBS planned to keep funding two talk shows unless the ratings for both proved "phenomenal."
"Team Loco alert: TBS cancels Lopez Tonight"
Actually, Conan (briefly) saved Lopez: If anything, says Josef Adalian at New York, Conan was a "life preserver" for Lopez's show. Ratings for Lopez Tonight were already mediocre when O'Brien took over — so unimpressive, in fact, that TBS would likely have canceled the show had it not hired Coco to provide a better lead-in. Without O'Brien, "Lopez would've almost certainly ended up where it is today — canceled" — only one year sooner.
"TBS cancels Lopez Tonight — Is Conan to blame?"
It's the lack of laughs that killed Lopez Tonight: "On a scale from 1-10," says Terron R. Moore at Ology, my level of surprise that Lopez Tonight was canceled is a negative 27. "The show was just awful." Few things on TV were less funny that watching "George Lopez talk about how Mexican he is and how Mexican I'm not."
"TBS cancels Lopez Tonight"
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