Fox Preps Conan Late-Night Offer
Network is quizzing affiliates about freeing up 11pm slot
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 25, 2010 11:50 AM CST
Conan O'Brien at the 60th Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles, Sunday, Sept. 21, 2008.   (AP Photo)

(Newser) – Fox has taken a keen interest in the newly available Conan O’Brien and is looking to move fast on a deal. Talks with Conan's reps could start as early as this week, and the network has already begun polling affiliates about the possibility of clearing an 11pm spot—now rerun territory—for the erstwhile Tonight Show host. “If Fox wants to be in late night, now’s the time,” a source tells the New York Post.

The network’s previous forays into the genre proved disastrous, but they occurred before it was No. 1 and had the promotional clout it does now. “He's one of the few guys on the planet who has demonstrated he can do one of these shows every night,” a Fox exec gushed last week. Neither side of as-yet-unconfirmed negotiations would comment, but a source close to O’Brien notes that “he won’t do anything that is not a high-quality show.” That’s code, the Post notes, for a Tonight Show-type budget.