Conan O’Brien will shake up his late-night show on TBS in favor of a more freewheeling half-hour format that allows him to curate content from a host of comedy-focused ventures he has as part of a broader partnership with the Time Warner cable network.
“Since I inherited my ‘Late Night’ show in 1993, TV has changed exponentially. I’d like to think I have evolved with many of these changes, but now it’s time to take the next leap. A half-hour show will give me the time to do a higher percentage of the comedy in, and out, of the studio that I love and that seems to resonate in this new digital world,” O’Brien said in a statement. “It’s still going to be me hosting a very silly show, but I want segments on my half-hour program to link to digital content, deepening the experience for my younger fans, and confusing my older ones.”
Under the terms of a deal unveiled in 2017, TBS and O’Brien’s Conaco LLC were supposed to create more content for non-traditional venues: digital media, podcasts, mobile games, pay TV and live tours. O’Brien and TBS are also partners in other projects,such as the TBS comedy “People of Earth” and the animated series, “Final Space.” O’Brien’s production teamalso creates content for advertisers.
Of TV’s many wee-hours hosts, O’Brien is presently the medium’s longest-serving. He first came to broader renown as the host of NBC’s “Late Night,” which he inherited from David Letterman on September 13, 1993. He had been a comedy writer for shows like “The Simpsons” and “Saturday Night Live,” before Lorne Michaels put him forward as a potential candidate for host.
In recent years, O’Brien has placed new emphasis on a series of specials that have him traveling to different countries, like Cuba or Armenia. And he’s acknowledged an interest in trying new things. “I still love the form,” he said of late-night shows in remarks made in 2015, but in a world where there are more and more and more and more shows, there actually is an impetus to — all right, I want to keep changing,” he said. “I want to do something radically different than I would have done 10 years ago.”
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