Richter shakes ‘Conan’ with news of spring exit

Departure voluntary, amicable, producer sez

NEW YORK — In a surprise announcement at the close of Wednesday night’s broadcast, “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” sidekick Andy Richter said he will ankle the couch next spring.

O’Brien and Richter have been partners since the inception of the show, which was born after David Letterman bolted the Peacock for CBS in 1993.

Veteran “Late Night” producer Jeff Ross said Richter notified the show “a few months ago” of his plans to ankle, and characterized the departure as completely voluntary and “amicable.”

“I’m surprised it didn’t happen sooner,” Ross told Daily Variety. “He’s a very funny, very talented guy, and he didn’t want to be a sidekick for the rest of his life. He wants to go and figure out what else he can do.”

Ross said no decision has been made on a replacement, adding that it’s unclear if a suitable replacement for Richter can be found. “We’re going to play it by ear,” he added.

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