After Nearly 30 Years in Late Night TV, Conan O'Brien Is Shifting Gears
I'm a firm believer that you can tell a lot about a person depending on who their favorite late-night television personality is. For me, I've always gotten along with folks who are big fans of Conan O'Brien, because, duh, I've been a devotee of the program since the days when his most prominent guest was Richard Belzer and the comic was licking lollipop trees. But the longtime late-night TV show host is ending his stint on TBS and moving over to HBO Max for a new variety show.
When is the final episode of Conan O'Brien's TBS show?
O'Brien had his first TBS show on November 8, 2010, and after nearly 11 years on the network, he's hanging up his hat ... on cable TV, anyway. The final episode of Conan will air on Thursday, June 24, 2021, on TBS at 11 p.m.
Guests have been giving their farewells to O'Brien on the TV show, including recurring guest and pal Paul Rudd who crashed an interview with Bill Hader in order to hit the late-night talk show host with a final Mac and Me gag (under the guise of showing a terrible Ed Burns sketch that flopped during dress rehearsals).
What is Conan O'Brien's new show about?
Details are sparse right now and WarnerMedia hasn't really released any specifics about Conan's new show. All we know is that, after nearly 30 years in the late-night TV business, Conan's headed into some new territory with a variety show on HBO Max.
The move to sign Conan to the service is a strong one for the network. A known talent like Conan, who has a unique sense of humor and a strong fanbase could help boost subscription numbers. Conan, who's been known for some of his edgier sketches and off-the-wall bits, could have more latitude to try envelope-pushing ideas on HBO Max.
We've seen this happen with Top Gear OG's Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May when they left the BBC for greener streaming pastures in The Grand Tour on Amazon Prime. Their greater creative control was immediately perceptible.
They mock-killed the Queen in a fake terrorist-plane-hijacking scenario, but it wasn't all shock laughs, either. They pulled off some truly moving historical documentary bits, like the tribute to Scottish racing legend Jim Clark.
WarnerMedia did say that O'Brien's Conan Without Borders program, which chronicles the comedian's adventures in other countries like Armenia, Mexico, Ghana, and Cuba, will air on HBO Max, along with new specials. A debut date hasn't been set, but the streaming platform has professed excitement about the new creative partnership.
"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 for HBO and HBO Max, in a statement.
Personally speaking, I've always had a soft spot for Conan, even more so when Isla Fisher went on his program and referenced an article I wrote for Distractify about red-headed sperm donors being in demand.
Still definitely the highlight of my career. We all know I'll be getting an HBO Max subscription once Conan debuts his new show on the platform — how about you? Or are you more of a Fallon kinda person yourself?