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Louis C.K. Drops New Material for “Struggling” Conan

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By HVentertainment on August 19, 2011

On last night’s Conan, comedian Louis C.K., who is arguably at the height of his funny powers, debuted some new material that will likely make its way onto his recently renewed FX sitcom. If you haven’t heard, yeah, it’s probably the funniest, ballsiest and unexpectedly great show on television.

Let’s check out his new jokes:

As great as that is, however, all anyone can seem to talk about regarding Conan O’Brien is the new story in the Wall Street Journal that suggests in part that TBS is very worried about his rapidly declining ratings.

In the nine months since “Conan”‘s debut, TBS has canceled its only other late-night show, George Lopez’s “Lopez Tonight,” and viewership of “Conan” has tumbled, by about 60% since its high-profile debut last fall.

Despite Mr. O’Brien’s shrinking audience, TBS is doubling down on the red-haired comedian, paying for costly programming in an attempt to protect its investment.

The audience for “Conan,” has fallen from about 2.4 million in the show’s first month on air in 2010 to roughly 958,000 people this past July, according to Nielsen Co. data.

Mr. O’Brien trails all major competitors on broadcast and cable during his 11 p.m. time slot. In certain weeks, he’s also fallen behind newer faces such as Chelsea Handler.

In July, Mr. O’Brien averaged about 685,000 viewers between the ages of 18 and 49, placing him behind cable competitors such as Stephen Colbert, Jon Stewart as well as broadcast rivals Jimmy Fallon, David Letterman and Jay Leno.

Compared to his major competitors, Mr. O’Brien is only ahead of ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel and CBS’s Craig Ferguson, who begin their broadcasts at midnight and 12:35 a.m.

The problem is that nobody watches late-night television anymore, especially young people. Conan would have been better off on Comedy Central, where his lead-ins could have been Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. He has no help in that regard on TBS. Still, the problem isn’t Conan, it’s just the changing television landscape.

Negotiations are expected to begin within the next six months for the third season or beyond, the AV Club reports, and as much as TBS wants to keep Conan, the probably can’t keep at a price tag of $12 million per year. It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out, even if it’s less thrilling than the Jay Leno snafu.

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