If Tonight Show host Conan O'Brien, who is reportedly
in the process of negotiating his exit from NBC, becomes available to basic
cable, FX Networks President-G.M. John Landgraf said he would jump at the
chance to get O'Brien on his schedule "in a heartbeat."
Landgraf, speaking Jan. 17 during an executive session at
the TCA winter press tour, said he would "love to have a Daily Show"
on its schedule "if it's as good as Conan or The Daily Show or [Stephen] Colbert."
He called the ability to host and sustain a daily show like
O'Brien does "very, very rare."
He noted that Fox Entertainment Chairman Peter Rice was in
the back of the room, and now oversees both the Fox broadcast network and FX, per
the new exec structure at News Corp.
"I think (Peter Rice) gets to decide whether Conan gets to go to the big
brother or the little brother," Landgraf said, acknowledging that the economics
of mounting a big latenight show are more viable on a broadcast network right
now. He said he doubts FX will get a shot at Conan "but we'll see how it plays
Fox executives have indicated they would be interested in
courting O'Brien since he rejected the network's plan to move Tonight
back a half-hour to 12:05. The host might prove a tricky fit with Fox, based on
numbers that have been crunched on the station level.