Conan O’Brien is getting out of the nightly game and has swapped his daily show for a weekly variety series on HBO Max. The move means that O’Brien will no longer front a late-night talk show for the first time in 28 years.
Conan, which has aired on TBS since 2010, will conclude at the end of its 10th season in June 2021, WarnerMedia said Tuesday. He has fronted more than 1,400 episodes of the show, which launched after the comedian’s acrimonious departure from The Tonight Show.
“In 1993 Johnny Carson gave me the best advice of my career: ‘As soon as possible, get to a streaming platform.’ I’m thrilled that I get to continue doing whatever the hell it is I do on HBO Max, and I look forward to a free subscription,” joked O’Brien.
The move comes weeks after Jeff Ross, who exec produces Conan and has worked with the former Simpsons writer for many years, told Deadline that the pair had been considering their future.
Ross told Deadline that he believes late-night shows are now “kind of dinosaurs in the business” and said that they were looking to do something different, as evidenced by this deal. “TBS and these linear cable networks, especially, are just like death. You know there’s no circulation, so you can’t do it forever. And [Conan] is ready for a change. We’ve got a lot of stuff going on between the podcast and the show and the digital business,” he said.
Conan, which was re-tooled into a half-hour format in 2019, had previously been renewed through to 2022. The show’s Conan Without Borders travel specials featuring O’Brien traveling to other countries will continue to air on TBS, WarnerMedia said.
Team Coco, which will produce the new HBO Max weekly show, is already in business with the streamer, making four stand-up specials featuring comedians including Chris Redd and Moses Storm.
“28 years is a monumental achievement in late-night television,” said Brett Weitz, General Manager for TNT, TBS and truTV. “We’re incredibly proud of the groundbreaking work that Conan and his team have accomplished during the 10 years at TBS and are so glad that we will continue to have his presence on our air with the ‘Conan Without Borders’ specials. We celebrate his success and are glad to see it grow across our WarnerMedia family.”
“Conan’s unique brand of energetic, relatable, and at times, absurdist, comedy has charmed late-night audiences for nearly three decades. We can’t wait to see what he and the rest of Team Coco will dream up for this brand new, variety format each week,” said Casey Bloys, Chief Content Officer, HBO and HBO Max.