Chalk up another unpredictable career move for Conan O’Brien. A few years after his controversial departure from NBC and his Internet-fueled resurgence at TBS, he’s launching another show online where he seems to be experimenting with longer-form, deeper interviews. “Serious Jibber-Jabber with Conan O’Brien” is expected to launch online-only sometime this month, according to the teaser issued Friday by his website, TeamCoco.com, and AT&T is aboard as a sponsor.
The teaser is short on specifics, i.e. guests, but it will be interesting to see whether O’Brien is going to just extend his chats with the celebrity guests who only get a handful of minutes on his TV couch, or perhaps go for another whole class of newsmakers, like, politicians. O’Brien surely has the chops to handle weightier work, and as Ryan Seacrest is demonstrating these days via his new deal with NBCUniversal, a host can stretch to more substantive fare without giving up his relatively more superficial day job.
So here’s a prediction: Watch O’Brien do his thing online for a time until he’s ready to get himself a show worthy of putting on CNN, which seems to be entering an experimental phase these days in its weekend lineup with hires like Anthony Bourdain and Morgan Spurlock shaking up a traditional sense of what constitutes 24-hour news programming. Giving O’Brien a side gig on CNN would bring some buzz to that network while giving him another reason to stick around at fellow Time Warner subsidiary TBS as well.