Conan O’Brien’s reign as TBS’s late-night host is more turbulent than the cable net might have expected, reports the Wall Street Journal. During Mr. O’Brien’s season on the air, TBS’s viewership among the 18-to-49 key demographic has fallen 11 percent and the network canceled its other late-night show, George Lopez’s Lopez Tonight. Mr. O’Brien’s troubles now–as in the ratings falterings during the protracted struggle with NBC ending in his ouster from The Tonight Show–are perceived as leading from his “niche appeal.” His sense of humor is perhaps less accessible than Comedy Central’s political-humor bloc or Tonight and The Late Show, or even the comedy reruns for which Comedy Central was long known; his niche location on the dial (other keystones of TBS’s programming are Tyler Perry’s sitcoms, hardly a match for Conan viewers) and niche humor seem to compound one another into a perfect storm of nicheyness.
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