Conan O'Brien is leaving late night television after a nearly three-decade run across multiple shows and networks. After premiering on TBS in 2010 following the host's controversial exit from NBC, Conan will reportedly end in June 2021, despite the network renewing the series through 2022 last year. In a statement commenting on the end of Conan on TBS, O'Brien also reveals that he'll next be hosting a weekly variety series on the WarnerMedia streaming service HBO Max.
"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," Conan O'Brien said. Meanwhile, TBS General Manager Brett Weitz also addressed O'Brien's exit.
"28 years is a monumental achievement in late-night television," Weitz said in a statement. "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," added Casey Bloys, Chief Content Officer, HBO and HBO Max.
To say the least, O'Brien's career in late night television has seen both highs and lows. After working as a writer for The Simpsons and Saturday Night Live, O'Brien replaced David Letterman as the host of Late Night starting in 1993. Serving as his sidekick was comedian Andy Richter, who continues to appear on Conan on TBS. During his run hosting the show, Late Night was nominated for the Emmy Award for Best Writing in a Comedy or Variety Series annually starting in 1996; they took home the win in 2007.
O'Brien ended his run hosting Late Night in 2009 when he was hired by NBC to replace Jay Leno as the host of The Tonight Show, which was a dream come true for O'Brien --- a big fan of Johnny Carson. In early 2010, NBC opted to put Leno back in the Tonight Show time slot, proposing that The Jay Leno Show air in its place with O'Brien's Tonight Show pushed back to 12:05 a.m. Unhappy with the decision, O'Brien chose to instead depart the network entirely, cutting a deal to leave NBC to begin his new series Conan on TBS. The incident dominated headlines at the time and resulted in fan backlash against Leno and NBC.
It's not yet clear why O'Brien is now leaving television to board a new series on a streaming service, but as both TBS and HBO Max are owned by WarnerMedia, it doesn't appear to be a disagreement with his bosses. Maybe the late night host was just ready for a change in format after spending nearly thirty years on the small screen. This news comes to us from Deadline.