LOS ANGELES — George Lopez, who surrendered his TBS time slot to Conan O’Brien and then saw ratings for Lopez Tonight slide, got a cancellation notice this week.
Lopez’s Thursday show at midnight was the final one, the cable network said in a statement.
“TBS has reached the difficult decision not to order a third season of Lopez Tonight,” the network said, adding that it was proud to have worked with the “immensely talented comedian and entertainer.”
TBS declined further comment.
The decision was based not only on ratings but also the cost of the show, according to a person familiar with the production, who spoke on condition of anonymity because TBS hadn’t authorized public comment.
A call to Lopez’s representatives was not immediately returned.
The comic gave up his 11 p.m. time slot to make room for O’Brien.
Obrien joined TBS after leaving NBC’s Tonight over a time-slot dispute that ended up reinstating Jay Leno as Tonight host.
The plan for TBS was to have a one-two punch of late-night shows that would particularly appeal to young viewers.
But the results have been unimpressive and the cancellation unsurprising, said media analyst Brad Adgate of Horizon Media.
“The only positive was a young median age” of about 32, Adgate said, which is part of the younger adult audience favoured by advertisers.
Lopez was among the rare minority entertainers to get a shot at a late-night show, with Arsenio Hall and Wanda Sykes also in the group.
Late-night hosts are uniformly white and male, including O’Brien, Leno, David Letterman, Craig Ferguson, Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel.
Neither Lopez nor O’Brien has been covered in ratings glory since TBS made its bold move to snare the former broadcast network star.
Lopez’s total viewership dropped 40 per cent in its second year, from an average of 910,000 nightly viewers at 11 p.m. to 543,000 at midnight.
In August, the audience has dropped to 391,000.
Conan has been drawing slightly more than one million viewers for the season, just 13 per cent higher than Lopez did in his first year, Adgate said, citing Nielsen Co. figures.
For the first part of August, Conan is averaging 709,000 nightly viewers.
During its debut month, November 2010, O’Brien’s show had about two million nightly viewers.
In comparison, The Daily Show With Jon Stewart is getting nearly 1.3 million viewers for Comedy Central at 11 p.m.
The Colbert Show follows it up at 11:30 p.m. with an average 982,000 viewers.