Turner President on Conan O’Brien Show: It Might Go Primarily Digital

Conan O’Brien’s late-night show on TBS may evolve into a primarily digitally distributed show, Turner president David Levy said at the Variety Entertainment Summit at CES.

The TV landscape is changing, and “Conan” could remain on television weeknights, or air on TV once a week with episodes going on digital platforms the rest of the week, Levy said.

“The definition of a television network in 10 years, what’s that going to mean? Premium video content is what’s really important to Turner,” said Levy, who was interviewed by Variety Co-Editor-in-Chief Andrew Wallenstein. What’s less important is how and where the audience watches it, according to Levy.

Levy noted that Turner has made no decisions at this point about “Conan.”

“Conan has had a longstanding relationship with Turner Broadcasting. He’s a crucial part of what we do at TBS,” said Levy. O’Brien’s contract runs through 2018, and “I’m sure he’ll be here for many years to come.”

Word that Turner is contemplating a change to the format for “Conan” — including potentially cutting the weeknight show to once a week — emerged Thursday, with the cable programmer citing multiple other projects the comedian and host is working on for TBS.

A large crowd turned out at the Variety event to see former NBA star Shaquille O’Neal, who is a co-host on TNT’s “Inside the NBA” show. Shaq gave credit to Levy and the team at Turner for producing a fun and entertaining show.

“We have a lot of humorous people on set,” said Shaq at Variety‘s event. “If we’re going to keep you up that late, we want to make you laugh.”

O’Neal, who noted that he was an early investor in Google, said he’s an avid user of new and emerging technologies — and said he was almost thrown off the plane from Orlando to Las Vegas this week because he was wearing virtual-reality goggles as he was checking out a VR roller-coaster.

Popular on Variety

More Digital

  • T.J. Dillashaw, right, kicks Cody Garbrandt

    Disney Plans UFC Broadcast for FX

    UFC matches will return to FX  – but not on a permanent basis. ESPN has been showing preliminary bouts to UFC pay-per-view events for the last while on ESPN and ESPN2, and then showing the main card on its ESPN+ subscription video service. In September, the early lineup will air on FX, which the UFC [...]

  • fundo logo

    Google‘s Area 120 Is Testing Fundo, a Crowdfunding Service for Creators (EXCLUSIVE)

    Google’s skunkworks lab Area 120 has been quietly testing an events-centric crowdfunding service for YouTubers, Variety has learned. Called Fundo, the service allows creators to invite their fans to virtual meet & greet sessions and other paid online events. A Google spokesperson confirmed the testing in a statement provided to Variety: “One of the many [...]

  • Telling Lies - Logan Marshall-Green

    Sam Barlow's 'Telling Lies' Government-Surveillance Thriller Game Sets Release Date

    After more than two years in the works, “Telling Lies” — the investigative thriller from acclaimed game creator Sam Barlow — is ready to take the stage. The game, produced with and released by Annapurna Interactive, will be available next Friday, Aug. 23, via Steam and Apple’s Mac and iOS app stores. “Telling Lies” will [...]

  • YouTube logo

    YouTube Will Stop Letting Copyright Holders Seize Revenue via Manual Claims on Very Short Music Clips

    YouTube is pushing back against overzealous copyright policing by music companies. Starting in mid-September, the video giant will forbid copyright holders from making manual claims to commandeer revenue generated by YouTube videos that include very short music clips (e.g., five seconds of a song) or “unintentional” music (like music from passing cars). “One concerning trend [...]

  • Chelsea Handler memoir book buy online

    Chelsea Handler Bonds With Alexa in iHeartRadio Smart Speaker Promo

    iHeartRadio has teamed up with Amazon to promote Chelsea Handler’s podcast “Life Will Be The Death Of Me.” Beginning this Thursday, users of Amazon’s Echo smart speaker and other devices with Alexa built-in can opt to get their mornings started with Handler cracking jokes and exchanging banter with the smart assistant. Users simply have to [...]

  • David Messinger, Activision Blizzard

    Activision Blizzard Hires CAA Veteran David Messinger as CMO

    Activision Blizzard tapped David Messinger, a former 15-plus-year veteran of CAA, as its first corporate-wide chief marketing officer. Messinger, based in Santa Monica, reports to Coddy Johnson, Activision Blizzard’s president and COO. It’s the first time the video-game company has appointed a CMO who will oversee the global marketing operations across all of Activision Blizzard [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content