What the hell, Conan? TBS?

By Frank Moher

conan-obrien_mountieTBS? TBS? All over Canada, Conan O’Brien fans are asking: What the hell is TBS?

And how the hell are we going to watch Conan?

A quick check shows that the cable network to which O’Brien today declared allegiance — Turner Broadcasting System — is nowhere available in Canada; no, not on cable or satellite, or even by interdimensional delivery using wormholes. Of course, the assumption had been that he would go to Fox, and that, along with much of North America, we would get our Conan fix by actually watching Fox after 11 pm (a heretofore unthinkable idea). But that plan was apparently scuppered by scheduling problems.

So instead it will be FBS — er, TBT — er — what the hell is it? Of course, this may be the start of the first truly successful cross-platform program, for which TV delivery is just one of many options. Conan’s audience is already just as likely to watch him on their notebooks or iPads, given the option, as on the tube. But for Canadians, even that may not be a possibility; geo-bounding already keeps us from watching much American (and, for that matter, British) broadcasting. Tried watching “The Family Guy” on hulu.com, or “Dr. Who” on the BBC iPlayer, lately?

It’s entirely possible — likely, even — that a Canadian broadcaster will buy the program and solve our predicament. And there’s always torrenting, or ATDHE.net. But as of this moment, the announcement completes our marginalization from the pop-culture cool-kids club.

Why, Coco? Why?


  1. Spooge says

    No wonder I couldn’t find it. I’ve been watching for it for months and didn’t even know it had begun yet.
    …. and I completely agree…..CRTC sucks and should be disbanded. It’s useless and outdated.

  2. meinwpg says

    this sucks – I am in the dreaded CST central time – now comedy plays Conan , thanks for nothing at 2AM !
    wow – how to get ratings ! No wonder I watch everything on the internet (not on any CTV except for TSN)
    Way to go brainiacs! I will probably never watch it at all – nfuff said CRTC sucks!

  3. Jeff says

    Just thought it’s worth mentioning for googlers finding this, CTV is airing promos for their fall season which includes Conan.

    And it’s not the cable companies were caught unaware by the TBS split, it’s the CRTC licensed the Atlanta local feed of TBS rather than the US national feed due to Canadian content rules. Once the split happened, Peachtree wasn’t worth watching anymore, and the TBS feed wasn’t licensed for broadcast.

  4. Scott says

    1) A Canadian network WILL pickup Conan although it probably won’t be announced until the fall. I have no worries on that front and neither should you.
    2) PeachtreeTV is not TBS. WTBS was a local Atlanta station (branded as TBS) which was rebroadcast on cable systems throughout North America due to its grandfathered Superstation status. In fall 2007 TBS became a full-fledged cable network and the local Atlanta station WTBS became WPCH branded as PeachtreeTV. Canadian stations have to continue to air WPCH because they are only licensed to air the Atlanta station, not the cable network. They could apply to air TBS but will be denied due to the CRTC’s regulations regarding allowing general interest US Cable networks in Canada.
    3) Lopez Tonight is available in Canada on TLN.

  5. Frost says

    To the author of this article, how can you write about TV and media and not know that we(canadians) had TBS until 2007? the network split and it caught many canadian cable providers unaware. A basic search for TBS or checking it with wiki would have told you at least that much. If you watched TV at all before 2007 you would have known that also. Basic journalistic research. You Fail.

  6. sudoka says

    FYI – Hotspot Shield is a delightful little application that hides your IP so you can watch things on HULU and blocked sites like that one. May come in handy in November 😉

  7. Fyoder Larue says

    Time to break free, kiddies. Maybe read a good book. Or if you need a fix from tube world, get it via thepiratebay.org . They can try to geobind us, but they’ll only discourage the easily discouraged. You’d think they’d be drooling over the prospect of one big worldwide family of consumers, but they’re still stuck in the past, so some will be favored, while the rest of us will get it free of advertising to view when and how we please. Darn, it’s tough being discriminated against!

  8. Peter says

    TBS…???Conan should of held out for Leterman to step down, his contract is up in 2010 and lets face it , it would of been the thing for CBS to plan for, it was a no brainer! Leterman really sucks these days and they would of had a real Conan to leno battle and Conan and CBS would of come out on top…maybe Conan will sign a short contract with TBS and CBS will get him in a few years.
    I hope we can get Conan on TBS in Canada some how as I will be upset if he’s on and we can’t watch the show .

  9. sudoka says

    Peachtree does not play all of TBS’s programming.
    They don’t air Lopez Tonight, so why would Conan’s new late night show be any different?

  10. says

    Actually, peachtree doesnt even show Lopez Tonight. and TBS still exists. Google “Canada to lose TBS” it happened. They are different channels no matter how they advertised during the switch.

  11. Neeraj says

    I hope you realize that Peachtree, which you should get on cable and/or satellite in Canada, is TBS. You will be able to see Conan just fine in Canada. Relax.

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