17 Nov Conan O’Brien to Leave Late Night for HBO Max show.
The longest-serving late-night host is leaving late night.
“Conan,” the TBS show hosted by Conan O’Brien, will go off the air in June, and the host will move on to HBO Max, where he plans to have his own weekly variety series, Warner Media announced on Tuesday.
“In 1993 Johnny Carson gave me the best advice of my career: ‘As soon as possible, get to a streaming platform,’” Mr. O’Brien said in a statement. “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.”
It is something of a lateral move: TBS and HBO Max are both part of WarnerMedia, AT&T’s news and entertainment division.
Mr. O’Brien’s nightly show got a revamp last year, when it was pared down from an hour to 30 minutes, with a focus on a single guest. The change did not keep it from getting lost in the shuffle of a crowded late-night field. For the week of Nov. 9, when Mr. O’Brien welcomed John C. Reilly, Zach Braff and Laci Mosley as guests, “Conan” averaged 275,000 viewers, according to Nielsen. That total was dwarfed by the 700,000 viewers for Trevor Noah’s “The Daily Show” on Comedy Central and the 2.6 million who tuned in for Stephen Colbert’s “The Late Show” on CBS that week. Unlike the majority of his competitors, Mr. O’Brien has not made pointed political humor the focus of his nightly monologues, favoring a more absurdist approach.
By the time he concludes his “Conan” run, Mr. O’Brien — a onetime writer for “The Simpsons” and “Saturday Night Live” who went before the cameras as the surprise successor to David Letterman on NBC’s “Late Night” in 1993 — will have put in 28 consecutive years as a late-night host. (Mr. Letterman made it to 33 consecutive years.) “Conan” debuted on TBS in 2010, not long after Mr. O’Brien’s ill-fated run as the host of NBC’s late-night franchise, “The Tonight Show.”
In recent years, Mr. O’Brien has expanded his output, with a popular podcast — “Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend” — and a travel series, “Conan Without Borders.” New episodes of the travel show will continue to air on TBS, the company said.