After a nearly 8-year run on TBS, Conan O'Brien's self-titled talk show will reduce its length to a half-hour beginning in 2019. While some people may not realize it - thanks to his show now residing on basic cable instead of broadcast TV - Conan is now the current elder statesman of late night, having hosted his own talk show since 1993. That's the year he became NBC's surprising pick to succeed David Letterman as the host of Late Night, going from comedy writer for shows like SNL and The Simpsons to major onscreen performer in no time flat.
Conan would host Late Night until 2009, when he handed the reigns off to Jimmy Fallon, and moved out to Los Angeles to begin hosting The Tonight Show. It was Conan's dream gig, as he grew up idolizing legendary host Johnny Carson. Sadly, Conan's tenure on The Tonight Show was cut drastically short, leading NBC to bring back Jay Leno, in a move that saw nearly everyone side with Conan and against NBC/Leno.
In November 2010, Conan debuted on TBS. While many questioned whether his move to cable would work, he's still there 8 years later, and was renewed last year through 2022. However, just because TBS is clearly happy with Conan, doesn't mean change isn't afoot. Variety reports that Conan (the show) will switch from the traditional one-hour late night format to a leaner, meaner half-hour format in 2019. Exactly when next year this change will occur is unclear.
Conan fans worried about radical changes to the show they know and love needn't worry though, as the tall, red-haired host insists that the shorter show will in essence be more of a fat trimming than a reinvention. The show will remain based in Los Angeles, and will still feature Conan doing monologue jokes and comedy bits. The biggest change will be reducing the line-up from three celebrity guests per night to one guest. The one guest late-night format itself obviously isn't new, as The Daily Show has been doing it for decades.
In another interesting tidbit for longtime fans of Conan O'Brien's brand of late night comedy, the host says that he's obtained the streaming rights to his NBC Late Night run, and will be setting up a new website containing this classic content. While a lot of old Conan material still lives on Youtube, this will be the first legitimate streaming source for the host's classic bits, most of which he's been legally prohibited from doing again since his NBC departure. Conan is also working on getting the rights to his short Tonight Show stint, but that's still up in the air for now. For Conan fans both old and new, 2019 looks to be a big year.
Conan airs Monday-Thursday at 11pm on TBS.