In the suddenly cluttered world of late-night talk shows, there isn't much of an audience. Of course there are the regular viewers such as college students, second-shift workers, prostitutes with time between tricks, insomniacs, drug addicts and senior citizens who get up REALLY early but in the grand scheme of things those aren't truly huge numbers. And none of those segments of the population are going to sit through two or more hours of late-night talk shows. Especially when you factor in all of the late-night talk show choices. There's The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Conan O'Brien, The Colbert Report, David Letterman, Nightline, Jay Leno, Chelsea Handler's Chelsea Lately, Jay Leno's Tonight Show, Jimmy Kimmel Live, Jimmy Fallon, Craig Ferguson and Last Call with Carson Daly.
Throw George Lopez in the mix and that adds up to a whopping 14 late-night talk/comedy show options. Even for a couch potato with a drug habit and insomnia that's overload. Most working-class folks are in bed, at the latest, by 11 PM (here in the central time zone, at least) and that leaves, at the mmost, an hour of late-night viewing potential. The simple fact is that people are still hard-wired to think that only the big three networks have late-night talk show options. Yeah, Conan's departure from NBC at least helped a few people to remember that the little cable outlet TBS has late-night talk as well but habits are hard to change.
I, for one, love Conan's style of entertainment but I almost always forget he's even an option. Out of habit, I flip my TV to WCCO and start getting ready for bed. I can count the number of times on one hand that I've remembered that Conan is on at 10 PM also. That fact alone said that, unless TBS was willing to lose money to keep an original program on the air, George Lopez's Lopez Tonight was destined for cancellation.
With tonight being the final episode of Lopez Tonight, I truly doubt that even a sliver of the population will miss his show in a month. Nobody will miss George Lopez beause nobody knew he was even on TV. Sadly, I can see Conan meeting the same fate in a year or two unless either Letterman or Leno retires. There just ins't enough audience at 10 PM or 10:30 PM who are willing to stick around for a complete hour of talk and comedy.