Conan + Coke = Zero

So Conan O’Brien, who has been working the Interwebs to promote his new show on TBS, is planning to stream a special preview episode Monday night.

Team Coco is calling the program “Show Zero,” and just last week, the folks at Coca-Cola decided to sponsor it. But the product they’re highlighting is not Coke Zero, which would seem to be a logical fit. Nope. They’re going with Diet Coke.

Ad buyers say Turner and Conan are trying to be very friendly with advertisers. Conan’s already done tune-in ads co-sponsored with AT&T. But this seems a bit obtuse. Perhaps Conan’s people and the Turner ad people weren’t all on the same page when these things were being discussed. Or maybe it would be too obvious-and memorable-if Show Zero were sponsored by Coke Zero. Perhaps I’m missing the joke. Then again, it’s only fizzy water.

We’ll see if this conundrum gets answered tonight when the show streams on, and at 11 p.m. ET/8 p.m. ET.

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.