NEW YORK (CelebrityAccess) — On Thursday, cable broadcaster TBS announced that they were paring back Conan O’Brien’s late-night talk show from an hour to just 30 minutes, starting in 2019.
The move, which reflects O’Brien’s meager ratings, is part of a transition away from the traditional late-night interview show model, into something more appealing to a younger, digital audience.
“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. 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,” O’Brien said in a statement announcing the changes. “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.”
The from an hour to 30 minutes of programming will happen in January, TBS said. “Conan” will still air four nights a week, but the show will feature fewer celebrity guests and instead provide a platform for stand-up sets from young comics and off-site segments. Mr. O’Brien says he hopes the format allows him more flexibility.
As a part of the revamp, TBS announced it had expanded its deal with O’Brien’s production company Team Coco to digital and social media platforms as well as its original television programming.
As well, the deal includes an array of talent deals with stand-up comedians that include live touring and production of original digital content with an eye towards developing new comedic talent.
Kicking-off in late 2018, O’Brien and a collection of comedians will hit the road on a multi-city tour hosted by O’Brien himself.
“Starting out on Saturday Night Live and The Simpsons, through Late Night and my work with TBS, one of the great joys of my life has been collaborating with brilliantly funny people. This new venture with TBS will give me a platform to nurture exciting young talent and find the right place for their gifts in a crowded and chaotic landscape,” O’Brien remarked about the new venture. “My goal is to be ‘Red Lobster,’ only instead of affordable seafood we make comedy, and every customer gets a bib. I wish I had thought this through.”
O’Brien, who is currently the longest-working late night talk show host, launched Conan on TBS in 2010. However, he has struggled with ratings in recent years, with just 400,000 viewers tuning in nightly for the last week of April, according to ratings compiled by Neilsen. By comparison, Comedy Central’s “Daily Show With Trevor Noah” averaged 860,000 viewers during the same period.