Starting next year, you’ll be seeing less of Conan O’Brien on air at TBS — but more of him (or at least things he’s involved in) online and in the real world.
TBS announced Thursday that it will cut “Conan” from an hour to 30 minutes nightly beginning in 2019. The show will be “less structured” than it its now — it will still feature guests but also include more comedy segments.
The scaled-back show coincides with an expansion of the partnership between TBS and O’Brien’s Team Coco that will include more digital content and a nationwide comedy tour hosted by O’Brien beginning in late 2018.
“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,” O’Brien says in a statement.
“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. 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.”
Among the new ventures will be more branded content along the lines of the “Clueless Gamer” segments that have been featured on “Conan” and online for several years. The “Conan Without Borders” specials will also continue.
O’Brien’s entire catalog of shows from “Late Night” and “Conan” (but not his brief “Tonight Show” tenure) will also be available digitally in the near future, though no date has been announced.
Rumors of changes to “Conan” have been circulating for the better part of a year. O’Brien signed an extension with TBS last year, and at the time there was speculation that “Conan” would become a weekly show. That hasn’t happened, and won’t happen for the foreseeable future, but the new arrangement is a further step in taking O’Brien’s brand of comedy beyond traditional TV.