Beginning in 2019, Conan O’Brien will see his late-night time slot cut in half, as the famed host doubles down on digital endeavors and live events.
Turner-owned TBS announced at its Upfront presentation today that Conan would be trimmed to 30-minute episodes in 2019, as well as boast a more unstructured format. (Last May, O’Brien signed a four-year deal with TBS). At the same time, TBS announced that it had pacted with O’Brien’s digital company, Team Coco, on online and touring projects, including a ramp-up of digital segments that will also live on the linear show.
“Since I inherited my Late Night show in 1993, TV has changed exponentially,” O’Brien said in a statement, per The Hollywood Reporter. “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…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.”
Former Otter Media executive Billy Parks has been named chief brand officer for the newly-formed joint venture between TBS and Team Coco. The pact will also comprise talent deals with stand-up comedians kicking off later this year, when O’Brien and the forthcoming fleet will hit the road on a multi-city tour. O’Brien will also feature emerging comics on his TV show and digital channels.
The Reporter notes that O’Brien is not only the longest-tenured late-night host on television today, but counts the youngest audience. Team Coco has amassed more than 3.4 billion online video views to date.