TBS is reportedly retooling Conan O’Brien’s late-night talker as a once-a-week one-hour program.
According to TheWrap, Turner CEO John Martin disclosed the network’s plans at CES on Wednesday. Conan has aired four nights a week on TBS since 2010, but Martin believes that format is no longer ideal given late night’s increasingly crowded and competitive field. As TheWrap notes, the show’s ratings have declined to the point where it’s regularly beaten by The Daily Show and even Bravo’s Watch What Happens Live in the 11:00 p.m. time slot.
Going forward, Conan will follow a similar format to TBS’s other late-night property, Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, which currently a new episode once a week.
Update: In a follow-up interview with The Hollywood Reporter, TBS president Kevin Reilly said while the production schedule of Conan “will shift,” no formal decision has been made. Reilly noted O’Brien’s various other projects — including producing TBS’ People of Earth and an animated show called Final Space, as well as a new series based on the Clueless Gamer segment on his show. “He came to me a couple of months ago and said let’s talk about how he can balance that with the rigors of a daily talk show,” Reilly explained. “I think it may very well change, but he hasn’t really got his hands around what will be. It’s going to be up to him.” Reilly added that for now it’s “business as usual,” but admitted a format change remains a “possibility.”
Martin also insinuated that the retooled show will spend more time on the road. During his tenure at TBS, O’Brien has filmed episodes in Cuba, Berlin and South Korea, among other locations.
It’s unclear when the change may go in effect, or how O’Brien feels about the decision (when NBC screwed him out of The Tonight Show, he took it pretty hard). Representatives for the late-night host declined to comment on TheWrap’s article.