George Lopez's late-night talk show got booted to midnight to make room for Conan O'Brien. Sacrifices have to be made in the quest for fortune, right? Eh, maybe. Turns out Conan is barely more popular than Lopez Tonight was. The redhead's TBS show officially turned one this week, and the first-year stats are nothing to write home about. Yahoo reports that he averaged 952,000 viewers a night, to Lopez's 911,000, per Nielsen. That's a serious drop from Conan's 4 million-viewer debut.
Combine slightly more viewers with the higher ad rates TBS was likely able to charge with Conan at the helm of the 11pm hour, and how does the network come out? Not on top, predicts the VP of research at Horizon Media. "Whatever ad-rate increase they got from marketers has to be offset by the cash TBS ponied up for O'Brien," which is rumored to be somewhere between $10 million and $15 million a year. "The question you have to ask is, 'What was the more financially prudent: Lopez or O'Brien?' I would vote for Lopez—but hindsight is 20/20."