Today at TCA, Turner Entertainment chief creative officer and TBS/TNT president Kevin Reilly provided an update to Deadline about the pending format changes with Conan. At one point earlier this year, TBS was kicking the tires at either airing Conan on a weekly basis versus four-nights a week, or stripping the time from an hour to 30 minutes an episode.
In essence, this was to reap the late-night show’s strengths: When it’s an event, like during Conan O’Brien’s Comic-Con stretch or city appearances, Conan is at its zenith, and TBS is looking to capitalize on that versus a formal talk-show format.
Currently, Conan will stay the course four nights a week, but there will be experimentation with the show in regards to its nightly rundown.
“At one point we did contemplate a once-a-week show, but right now we picked it up and we’ll let it continue with the nightly format,” Reilly said today.
Reilly continued: “We were looking at where he was succeeding online, with his videos, and with these new things he was doing with going to Comic-Con and foreign cities, how do we make that the thing, not the nightly show? The nightly show is a piece of the entity, not the end game, and he was onboard from minute one. At a certain point, it’s time management. I don’t know how he does it, he’s a machine, but he gets off a plane from Kazakhstan, does a show, runs out and does a video, runs the staff, goes and produces a couple of shows for us, and never cracks. At a point you have to manage your main asset — him– better.”
“We’ll make some changes on the existing show in the format and make it lean with more spontaneity and less format. I think that’s the first phase of where this will be. What’s working for him, is something that is of the moment, unscripted, and very alive. That’s where he just owns it. And then we’ll get more energy from that into the nightly show and away from the traditional structure: monologue, sit, roll it in. That’s the first wave where we’ll start, just loosening that up, and you’ll see that pretty soon,” explained Reilly.
“Conan is at the height of his career and has such a skill set that’s unrehearsed,” said Reilly earlier today at the TBS/TNT TCA session. “He has the youngest demo of any talk show personality.”