TBS announced today its pulling the plug on comedian George Lopez's late night show Lopez Tonight after two years. The last telecast will air Thursday, according to a network press release, writes Entertainment Weekly's James Hibberd. Lopez joined TBS in 2009 in the 11 p.m. slot, but moved back to midnight last year after the arrival of Conan O'Brien last year, which Lopez said was beneficial to the "block party atmosphere" he wanted to bring to the program.
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At The New York Times Media Decoder blog, Bill Carter writes TBS hoped the combination of O'Brien and Lopez would give them a strong "two-hour block of late-night comedy." That failed to materialize, with the ratings for the second season of the show declining by 40 percent overall and 28 percent in the all-crucial 18-34 demographic, according to a tweet from the Los Angeles Times' Joe Flint.
Lest anyone accuse O'Brien of pulling a Leno, Vulture's Josef Adalian writes that Lopez's cancellation may have come sooner if not for the revamp. "Fact is, while some pundits tried to spin Conan O'Brien's bumping of Lopez tonight to midnight a little under a year ago as a demotion for Lopez, if anything, it as a life preserver," Adalian writes. "Lopez Tonight was turning in mediocre numbers when it aired at 11 p.m. and its renewal for a season two was hardly assured before O'Brien entered the picture." At Deadline, Nikki Finke says there were rumors last year that the show was close to cancellation, but O'Brien "insisted on Lopez sticking around so he is not perceived as the guy who pushed Lopez out."