HOLLYWOOD — Conan O’Brien’s head writer is moving from “Late Night” to primetime.
Jonathan Groff, chief scribe of the NBC talker since September 1995, is ankling in order to create and develop comedy series for the Peacock via a new overall deal with NBC Studios.
Mike Sweeney, a veteran “Late Night” scribe, has been tapped to replace Groff as head writer. The transition will take place next month.
“We are thrilled that Jonathan is bringing his exquisite abilities that have added so much to the success of ‘Conan’ to NBC Studios’ primetime efforts,” said NBC Studios topper Ted Harbert. “We have every confidence that he can create hits” for the network.
A former standup comic, writer for MTV’s “The Jon Stewart Show” — and a five-time “Jeopardy!” winner — Groff joined “Late Night” in January 1995 and was upped to head writer nine months later. During his tenure, skein snagged five Emmy noms and won two WGA awards.
“I have loved every minute of working on ‘Late Night,’ ” Groff said. “After five great years, I want to explore other areas, including creating episodic television and giving life to new characters.”
Sweeney, who also began writing for “Late Night” in 1995, previously worked as a writer on Comedy Central’s “Short Attention Span Theater” and for several awards shows. He’s also performed as a standup comic.
“Mike Sweeney is the perfect choice to help us with our transition from latenight comedy to 24-hour financial news,” O’Brien quipped in a statement announcing Sweeney’s appointment.
Lorne Michael and Jeff Ross are the exec producers of “Late Night.”
Groff and Sweeney are both repped by UTA and the Sarkes-Kernis Co. Groff is also repped by attorney Jared Levine.