Throughout the years since he first began to host his own late night talk show on NBC in 1993, Conan O’Brien’s career has been nothing short of a rollercoaster ride. After his departure from The Simpsons to take over David Letterman’s position as host of Late Night, O’Brien used his own brand of self-deprecating, bizarre and downright hilarious comedy to gradually build up a cult following.
By the time Jay Leno was set to retire as host of The Tonight Show in 2009, Late Night with Conan O’Brien had gone from an obscure niche demographic to a more widely respected one, without changing much about what made the show so funny to begin with. O’Brien took over as host of The Tonight Show, a move that resulted in disaster when Jay Leno decided he wanted to return in 2010. After a mere seven months as host, O’Brien was pushed out for Leno’s return. The results were a fan campaign to get behind Team Coco and O’Brien eventually found a home for a new talk show called Conan on TBS.
Now almost 7 years after Conan began its run, The Wrap is reporting that the decision has been made to change the talk show from a nightly format to a weekly one. TBS CEO John Martin delivered the news during the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Citing the current crowded market of late night television, Martin said he feels the show will do better in this new format. As of this writing, there’s been no comment from anyone directly related to Conaco – the production company responsible for Conan.
With the retirement of David Letterman from late night TV in 2015, Conan O’Brien now holds the title of being the longest working late night talk show host in the United States. For twenty-two years he’s been a favorite of many and although Conan still does well in the ratings, The Daily Show often outperforms it. Still, as far as cable ratings go, Conan is typically at the top or in second place. Compared to broadcast talk shows however, Conan’s viewership is nowhere near that of The Tonight Show, Jimmy Kimmel Live or The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.
UPDATE: TBS president Kevin Reilly has now disputed The Wrap‘s previous report, by issuing the following statement to THR (Ed. note: the rest of this article has been left as it was originally written):
“Conan remains an invaluable franchise, partner and producer for our TBS brand and we’ll be in business with him for a long time. As the media landscape continues to evolve, Conan will continue to lead the evolution of what a talk show will be in the digital age. At this time, we have no plans to change the format or frequency of his popular TBS show. In addition to Conan’s daily responsibilities to his talk show, we continue to have very ambitious plans that will further broaden and evolve our relationship with Conan.”
The switch to a weekly format for Conan shouldn’t necessarily be taken as a sign of trouble for the talk show. Perhaps it’s more a case of too much of a good thing. If TBS scales back on Conan this could very well result in casual viewers of the show making more of an effort to seek it out. It would be a shame to lose Conan after all the comedian’s been through to get to this point, not to mention the fact that O’Brien’s comedic sensibilities are some of the best in late night television history.
For now, fans of Conan will just have to wait and see how this new format pans out. It isn’t the most encouraging sign to see a beloved late night talk show downscale in order to deal with its competition, but one thing that Team Coco supporters have learned over the years is to never count O’Brien out – his work ethic and talents always seem to rescue him when he needs it most.
Source: The Wrap
Update Source: THR