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Conan, Kimmel provide energy boosts during slack times for Texas-produced network dramas

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Once a hotbed for scripted network TV productions, Texas for the time being is down to TNT’s Dallas and NBC’s faltering Revolution.

Late night talkers lately have been ramping it up, though. TBS’ announcement of Conan O’Brien’s springtime stop in Dallas for a week’s worth of shows comes shortly after ABC began spreading the news of Jimmy Kimmel Live! visiting Austin in the middle of next month.

The Conan tapings, tied to the NCAA men’s basketball Final Four at Jerry’s Palace, will be from March 31-April 3 at the downtown Majestic Theater. Kimmel Live has Austin on its schedule from March 10-14 in league with the city’s annual South by Southwest Festival. Tapings will originate from the Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long Center for the Performing Arts.

Neither show has announced a guest list yet. But you can go here in pursuit of free tickets to one of Kimmel’s shows. And starting on Feb. 18th, click here for a shot at free tickets to Conan.

Texas had a quartet of new network TV productions going at once back in fall 2010. Fox’s Lone Star and The Good Guys, and NBC’s Chase were all filming in the Dallas area. ABC’s My Generation set up in Austin after NBC/DirectTV’s Friday Night Lights wrapped up its five-season run.

But all four freshman series were quickly canceled, with Lone Star and My Generation each lasting for just two episodes. ABC Family’s The Lying Game, which originated from Austin in the wake of My Generation, got sacked last summer after two seasons.

One-week stands by a pair of late night network TV talk shows are a smallish economic boost compared to a long- or even short-running scripted series. Still, it will be nice to have both O’Brien and Kimmel around. And probably in cowboy hats at least once.

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