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George Lopez preps for late night

Comedian to host TBS talkshow

Comedian George Lopez has entered the latenight race, signing on to host an 11 o’clock nightly talkshow for TBS starting in November.

The as-yet-untitled hourlong gabber will run Monday through Thursday on Turner’s comedy-themed network. Lopez will also exec produce, along with Jim Paratore, the veteran syndie talkshow architect of skeins including “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.”

Turner, which had recently experimented with original comedies in latenight, putting “10 Items or Less” and “Frank TV” in that period, has placed a 34-week order for the program.

Featuring celebrity guests, musical and standup perfs, the project comes from 2.2 Prods., paraMedia and Telepictures Prods., in association with Warner Horizon TV.

“It’s a way to plant a flag in the latenight space for TBS,” said Turner original programming topper Michael Wright. “This won’t be a guy sitting behind a desk in front of a parade of guests. It doesn’t look like any other talkshow out there.”

Project was sold on the strength of a pilot episode shot in August that featured Eva Longoria Parker, Samuel L. Jackson, Dane Cook and Kaley Cuoco as guests. Musical backing was supplied by Shakira’s band.

Acknowledging that latenight is a crowded time period in which to carve out a niche, Lopez said his connection to Latino audiences could help. He plans on traveling to New York in May to help Turner deliver its upfront presentation.

“Ad dollars are sparse, but I think this show appeals to advertisers because of the potential audience it could draw,” he said. “It’s a more diverse audience perhaps than some of the other latenight audiences.”

Lopez feels no anxiety about adapting to the talkshow format.

“I’ve spent almost 30 years on the road and I’ve been a guest on those shows over 100 times,” he said. “I’m ready.”

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