Conan will come to an end next year, but Conan O’Brien isn’t yet ready to retire.
O’Brien’s TBS late night show will wrap in June 2021 after 10 seasons on the cable network. He’ll then segue to a weekly variety series on HBO Max, which like TBS is owned by WarnerMedia.
“In 1993 Johnny Carson gave me the best advice of my career: ‘As soon as possible, get to a streaming platform,'” said O’Brien. “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 won’t be leaving TBS entirely: His Conan Without Borders travel specials will continue to air on TBS. O’Brien is the longest-tenured current host of a late night show, having first hosted NBC’s Late Night in 1993. He has a year left on his current deal with TBS.
“Twenty-eight years is a monumental achievement in late night television,” said Brett Weitz, general manager of TNT, TBS and TruTV. “We’re incredibly proud of the groundbreaking work that Conan and his team have accomplished during the 10 years at TBS and are so glad that we will continue to have his presence on our air with the Conan Without Borders specials. We celebrate his success and are glad to see it grow across our WarnerMedia family.”
Details on the weekly HBO Max series are scant at the moment. Speculation that O’Brien would wind down his nightly show or shift to a weekly format has been circulating for several years, dating back to before the 2018 decision to trim Conan from an hour to 30 minutes a night. O’Brien said at the time that the half-hour format “gives us the opportunity to double down on stuff we’re doing that works best and resonates with our fan base, especially our digital stuff, and make the show leaner so I’m never out there filling time in any way.”
O’Brien also has an existing relationship with HBO Max, as his Team Coco is producing several stand-up specials for the streamer.
“Conan’s unique brand of energetic, relatable and at times, absurdist, comedy has charmed late night audiences for nearly three decades,” said HBO and HBO Max chief content officer Casey Bloys. “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.”