Late Night Wars Return

Monday, November 8, 2010 - 10:46am

Conan O'Brien returns to the air tonight, months after his controversial departure from NBC.

Another chapter in the late night wars begins tonight as former "Tonight Show" host Conan O'Brien debuts his new show on cable network TBS.

His final days hosting "the tonight show" back in january were bitter and when O'Brien's new show debuts tonight many wonder if he'll pick up where he left off.

"You're probably going to see some barbs thrown out at his old employer," says TV Guide's Stephen Battaglio. "It's going to be a topic of discussion because it happened to him, it's part of his experience and it's going to be part of his comedy."

Battaglio expects Conan's return to be felt more by his cable competitors than by his network brethren.

"It will take away some younger viewers that was Conan's strength all along with the 18-34 audience," he says, "and, Jay and Dave's audience are getting older."

That changing late night landscape has NBC's "Tonight Show", CBS' "Late Night with David Letterman" and Comedy Central's "The Daily Show" all claiming some variation of ratings supremacy during the month of October.

The man who chronicled the late night wars back in the early 90s with his book "The Late Shift" has a follow up hitting stores today.

New York Times Media Writer Bill Carter's book is entitled "The War for Late Night: When Leno Went Early and Television Went Crazy".

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