Change within the WarnerMedia empire is coming fast and quick these days. Today’s news: Conan O’Brien will end his TBS late night show after a 10-year run and will shift over to producing and hosting a weekly variety show for HBO Max.
“In 1993 Johnny Carson gave me the best advice of my career: ‘As soon as possible, get to a streaming platform,'” O’Brien said in statement, tongue firmly implanted in cheek. “I’m thrilled that I get to continue doing whatever the hell it is I do on HBO Max, and I look forward to a free subscription.”
O’Brien’s recurring travel specials for TBS, Conan Without Borders, will continue. But as of the end of its 10th season in June, Conan will cease production.
WarnerMedia didn't announce a title for O'Brien's new weekly show or any other details.
“Conan’s unique brand of energetic, relatable, and at times, absurdist, comedy has charmed late-night audiences for nearly three decades. We can’t wait to see what he and the rest of Team Coco will dream up for this brand new, variety format each week,” said Casey Bloys, chief content officer of HBO and HBO Max.
O'Brien arrived at the erstwhile Turner Networks back in 2010 in a huff, following a well-publicized fallout with NBC over late-night primacy. After hosting Late Night with Conan O'Brien at 12:30 a.m. for 15 years, O'Brien had been given the keys to the venerable Tonight Show.
One problem: Jay Leno decided shortly after that he wanted the choice 11:30 p.m. slot back. Rather than concede to what he described as the "destruction" of The Tonight Show with a move to 12:05 a.m., O'Brien bolted to basic cable.
That little late-night history lesson aside, the move is consequential for WarnerMedia, which like its media-giant peers, is quickly shifting its corporate distribution priorities to video streaming.
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