Conan O’Brien’s TBS talk show downsizes to half-hour episodes in 2019, pivots to digital content

The reworked show will now focus more on digital content, budding stand-up comedians, and tours

Conan O'Brien
Conan O’Brien

    The bad news: Conan O’Brien’s late-night talk show on TBS is shrinking. The good news: His empire is growing.

    It’s no secret that O’Brien’s talk show has a very small viewership, but his Team Coco ventures online are drawing huge numbers. As such, The Hollywood Reporter reports that, beginning next year, O’Brien’s show will be reduced from an hour to a half-hour while his touring and online efforts will expand in breadth and ambition. This comes a year after O’Brien signed a new four-year deal with TBS, and makes sense considering O’Brien’s most popular content of late have included segments like “Clueless Gamer” and his Conan Without Borders series of specials. The former, it should be noted, is currently in development at TBS as a series.

    O’Brien’s show will still air four times a week, but the format will be less structured. In a conference call, O’Brien confirmed that the show will feature fewer celebrity guests and more taped segments. Meanwhile, Team Coco will ink talent deals with promising young stand-up comedians who will join O’Brien on live tours.

    “Since I inherited my Late Night show in 1993, TV has changed exponentially. I’d like to think I have evolved with many of these changes, but now it’s time to take the next leap,” O’Brien said in a statement. “A half-hour show will give me the time to do a higher percentage of the comedy in, and out, of the studio that I love and that seems to resonate in this new digital world. It’s still going to be me hosting a very silly show, but I want segments on my half-hour program to link to digital content, deepening the experience for my younger fans, and confusing my older ones.”

    “Conan’s always been a fearless performer, and now, at the top of his form, I’m excited he’s taking a gutsy step forward with us into new arenas,” said Kevin Reilly, president of TBS and TNT and chief creative officer of Turner Entertainment.

    Finally, the new direction will find O’Brien and Team Coco partnering with NBC and TBS to put the host’s entire catalog of Late Night with Conan O’Brien and Conan online. You know what that means? Walker: Texas Ranger jokes whenever you want them.