Wednesday on The Howard Stern Show, George Lopez revealed he was enlisted to help recruit Conan O’Brien to sign with TBS – where Conan would eventually replace Lopez in the 11 pm time slot.
Prior to Conan’s arrival at TBS, Lopez hosted Lopez Tonight, which aired at 11 pm. Conan’s signing pushed Lopez back to midnight – nine months later, his show was canceled.
According to Lopez, TBS executives asked Lopez his opinion on Conan, and then asked Lopez to coax Conan to come to cable.
“‘We have a chance to get Conan, what do you think?'” Lopez said executives asked. “And I said, ‘What do I think? I don’t run this company!’
“It’s crazy, because they bullsh– that fool, man, Conan’s agents,” Lopez continued. “They said, ‘If Conan doesn’t come to TBS, he’s going to go to FOX.’ F—in’ FOX doesn’t have Late Night! It’s like saying, if you don’t eat these f—in’ enchiladas, they’re just gonna give ‘em to McDonald’s. They don’t eat that sh–!”
Howard then suggested what Conan did to Lopez was similar to what Jay Leno did to Conan at NBC.
“That’s right,” Lopez said. “They asked me to call him [...] because they don’t have any f—in’ balls. Close the f—in’ deal yourself!”
Did Lopez consider quitting after Conan signed the deal?
“Listen, man,” Lopez explained to Howard, “if you say no, that you’re not gonna move, then you’re out that year.”
Lopez, who said Conan still falls short of Lopez in the ratings – “even with the $70 million they spent” – then told Howard a story he hadn’t previously divulged.
This [guy] comes into my office. He calls Conan a folk hero. People love him. And I said, “Oh, all right, he’s a folk hero.” And I said, “I guess I’m nothing in the Latino community, and that’s an audience that’s not f—in’ watching TBS. All right. He’s a folk hero.” So I said, “OK, cool, he’s a folk hero.”
“Listen, when they don’t want you there, just ride it out as long as you can go,” Lopez said.