George Lopez aims to ditch talk show traditions

Wed Jul 29, 2009 6:31am EDT

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LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - The first day of the summer Television Critics Association press tour got under way Tuesday, with George Lopez presenting his entry into the crowded late-night talk-show field.

Lopez's TBS series will roll out in the fall amid a shaken-up competitive landscape. Producer Jim Paratore cited research that says only 31 percent of the TV audience watches all the current late-night shows combined, and Lopez downplayed any sense of performance pressure. "The simple plan of the show is to create an energy that isn't anywhere on TV," Lopez said, then joked, "but apparently in some parts of the country I'll be up against telenovelas -- can't win that battle."

Lopez said he's going to get rid of several late-night conventions: no desk, no cue cards and no monologue -- very little monologue, anyway.

"'Monologue' sounds like a dissertation," he said. "It's hard to make formal look cool."

The comedian also hopes to keep the format flexible, bringing audience members up to the couch, putting different guests together onstage and sometimes opening with a guest. "If you have Prince, why would you have him go last?" he said. "It's supposed to be a party, and a party is spontaneous."

As for competition with other shows over guests, Lopez joked, "I don't think 'The Tonight Show' is going after Menudo."

(Editing by Sheri Linden at Reuters)

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