×

New TBS Deal Will Extend Conan O’Brien Beyond Late-Night TV

Conan O’Brien will continue to host late-night for TBS for another four years – but new duties will ensure he frequently gets out from behind his desk.

Under the terms of a new deal, TBS and O’Brien’s Conaco LLC will work to create content for digital venues, podcasting, mobile gaming, pay TV and live tours. The production company produces O’Brien’s “Conan” along with the TBS comedy “People of Earth” and a soon-to-launch animated series, “Final Space.” And O’Brien’s staffers are behind Team Coco, the show’s digital hub as well as efforts by O’Brien’s team to  create content for advertisers. The agreement will keep O’Brien behind his “Conan” desk through 2022. Of TV’s many wee-hours hosts, O’Brien is the medium’s longest-serving.

“The TV landscape has changed dramatically since I inherited the traditional talk show format in 1993,” O’Brien said in a statement. “In the past few years I’ve stumbled across many new and exciting ways of connecting with my audience, and I’m eager to evolve my show into something leaner, more agile, and more unpredictable.”

The agreement – the third O’Brien and the Turner cable network have signed since 2013 – puts a spotlight on how quickly late-night TV is evolving at a time when so many of its fans watch the programs in non-traditional fashion.  With TV viewers growing ever more fragmented thanks to the rise of streaming video and mobile devices, hosts like O’Brien, Stephen Colbert and Seth Meyers are devising new methods to snare viewer attention.

These days, the late-night hosts do things Johnny Carson could only devise in a fever dream. Colbert inserts new segments into repeats. Seth Meyers’ “Late Night”  makes available the show’s signature segment, “A Closer Look,” on social media hours before a new episode airs. Samantha Bee’s “Full Frontal” staff often posts comedic bits on social-media sites like Twitter and Medium, and recently held a comedy event aimed at celebrating journalists in Washington, D.C., on the same weekend as the annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner.

O’Brien, however, has been testing new ideas since embarking on a comedic tour of Cuba in 2015 that turned into a special. Since that time, the lanky red-headed host has journeyed to Berlin, Qatar, South Korea and Armenia. “The only way you can keep going at a certain point is to change, and to grow up and try different things,” O’Brien remarked at a press event in 2015, and “maybe try a different muscle.”

TBS last extended its deal with O’Brien in 2014, when it signed him to a three-year extension.  “This next chapter will provide support for Conan and [executive producer] Jeff [Ross] to expand the boundaries from a ‘talk show’ to a range of personality-based, cross-platform experiences.” said Kevin Reilly president of TNT & TBS and chief creative officer of Turner Entertainment, in a prepared statement.

Rival late-night shows frequently beat “Conan” in linear-TV ratings, but Turner has pointed to the host’s success in attracting young audiences and in getting attention in digital venues. “Conan” debuted in November 2010.

 

 

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • TV News Roundup: Netflix Drops Trailer

    TV News Roundup: Netflix Drops Trailer for Ryan Murphy's 'The Politician' (Watch)

    In today’s TV news roundup, Netflix has drops the first trailer for “The Politician,” and “Killing Eve” adds two to its cast for season 3.  CASTING Harriet Walter and Danny Sapani, both alums of “The Crown,” are set to join the cast of “Killing Eve” for its third season. British writer Suzanne Heathcote, whose past credits include [...]

  • Lady Gaga

    Variety Earns 14 Folio: Eddie & Ozzie Award Nominations

    Variety has received 14 Folio: Eddie & Ozzie award nominations for its coverage of the entertainment industry over the past year. The awards gala, which will take place at The Hilton Midtown in New York City on Oct. 30, celebrates publications that have demonstrated impressive investigative journalism, in addition to thoughtful digital and print design. [...]

  • Disneyland

    Disney Shares Slip Amid Reported Whistleblower Allegations of Inflated Revenue

    Sandra Kuba, a former senior financial analyst for Disney’s revenue operations unit, says she has filed a series of whistleblower tips with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, alleging that the entertainment conglomerate repeatedly and systematically overstated its revenue for years, according to a MarketWatch report, by as much as $6 billion in a single [...]

  • Bob Bakish Joe Ianniello

    ViacomCBS Sets Board Members; Bob Bakish, Joe Ianniello New Deals Disclosed

    ViacomCBS has unveiled the 13 members of its board of directors and details of new employment contracts for president-CEO Bob Bakish and CBS chairman-CEO Joe Ianniello. The disclosure came Monday in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, six days after Viacom and CBS at long last set an all-stock merger agreement valued at [...]

  • Carrie Underwood, left, and Reba McEntire

    CMAs Make Hosting Change: Brad Paisley Exits, Dolly Parton and Reba McEntire Are In

    The CMA Awards have had the most consistent hosting situation of any music awards show in television, but 11 years after installing Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood as the reliable faces of the telecast, even ABC and the Country Music Association have decided it’s time for a switch. Come Nov. 13, Underwood will return for [...]

  • Ava Max iHeartRadio Wango Tango, Portraits,

    Megan Thee Stallion, CNCO, Ava Max to Perform at VMAs Pre-show

    CNCO, Megan Thee Stallion and “Sweet but Psycho” singer Ava Max (pictured) have been added to the performer lineup at this year’s MTV Video Music Awards. The three will take the stage during the VMAs’ red carpet pre-show, hosted by Terrence J and Nessa. Zara Larsson will join the two hosts as a special correspondent. [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content