Conan O’Brien is one step closer to moving his production shingle over to Warner Bros. TV.
O’Brien’s Conaco production company is still set up at NBC Universal — a remnant from his days at the Peacock — but that deal is set to expire at the end of the TV season.
Conaco wasn’t expected to remain there after O’Brien and NBC parted ways in January. And after O’Brien sealed a deal to move his talk show to TBS, Conaco was expected to follow.
Turner’s Steve Koonin has even told several outlets that as part of being in the O’Brien business, he expects to develop several projects from Conaco.
Turner doesn’t make production deals, however, which is why sibling Warner Bros. TV quickly became the leading contender to land the shingle — run by former Universal TV topper David Kissinger.
Insiders close to O’Brien confirmed on Saturday night — as the host’s “Legally Prohibited from Being Funny on Television” tour came to Los Angeles — – that a deal was imminent with Warner Bros., although nothing is official yet.
Under Conaco’s previous setup at NBC, the company still has a pilot in contention at the Peacock: An untitled legal drama from scribe John Eisendrath.
Kicking off the first of his two Los Angeles dates O’Brien admitted that it was a tad “awkward” that the Gibson Ampitheatre — where the live event took place — was just 400 yards from his old “Tonight Show” studio.
It was O’Brien’s first time back at Universal City since his “Tonight Show” gig ended.
If you listen carefully,” O’Brien said, pointing back to the Universal lot, “you can hear the sound of bad ideas being greenlit.”
O’Brien also quipped that he chose the Gibson — out of all the possible L.A. venues for his tour, it’s the only one actually on NBC Universal land — because his Cobra insurance was about to run out.
Earlier Saturday, O’Brien had also wrote on Twitter: “I’m doing my live show tonight from the Universal lot where I taped The Tonight Show. So if a shot rings out, tell my wife I loved her.”
The NBC gags, however, was kept to a minimum — as most of the jokes were directed at O’Brien (a big fan of self-depicating comedy) himself.
Special guests on Saturday’s show included Jim Carrey, who wore a spandex Superman costume and sang — as a duet with O’Brien — Five for Fighting’s “Superman.”
O’Brien also brought out a flurry of celebs — several from NBC sitcoms — to pull the “Chuck Norris clip handle” (which, of course, features bizarro scenes from “Walker, Texas Ranger”).
Among the handle pullers: Aziz Ansari, Jonah Hill, Jack McBrayer and Jon Hamm. (Conan made sure to grab an extra hug from the always impossibly handsome Hamm.) “This is the first time people have paid to see me,” O’Brien said. “They (pointing to the Universal lot) paid me to go away.”
O’Brien alluded to his new TBS home a few times, thanking the cabler for his new gig (which launches in November).