'Conan' Shifting to Half-Hour Format

Conan O'Brien's TBS late night show is getting cut in half.

The comedian will move his show Conan, which has been on the network since November 2010, to what he called a "leaner" half-hour format focused more on comedy starting 2019.

According to Variety, the series will reduce the amount of common late-night show trappings, like celebrity interviews. The new concept will leave O'Brien with more time to develop comedic routines for the show, but also to produce content for a range of comedy-focused ventures he has been building as part of a broader partnership with the network.

O'Brien told Variety he has been looking for new ways to entertain viewers given the new television landscape.

"I was looking for something more lean and agile. I've been pushing for something that fits the modern landscape, certainly fits the way I interact with my fans more," he said during an interview with journalists Thursday.

O'Brien has cultivated one of the youngest audiences for a late-night program, but many of his viewers don't watch his linear broadcast in a way that can be easily monetized.

Many of television's late-night shows have started focusing on creating content outside of their programs, which remain popular but are being consumed online rather than live on the air.

Late-night fans in 2018 stay up to date by streaming video clips from Jimmy Kimmel, Jimmy Fallon and Stephen Colbert, all passed along by friends or distributed through social media. And many of the programs have found success in creating everything from animated satires to game shows to social-media posts out of segments that first aired on their flagship programs.

"If there's a way, a possibility that we can find other ways to spin off something, if I feel like it is worth people's time and something that people might enjoy, yeah, that's a possibility," he said.

The comedian suggested Conan fans would see some changes, but not radical ones.

"This is not, 'Tune in, you're going to see a whole new Conan with a shaved head and an eye patch and a falcon on his shoulder," said O'Brien. He said his new program, which will begin to air in January of 2019, will likely feature just one celebrity guest rather than many, and will remain based in Los Angeles.


"This is going to be me doing comedy as you've seen me doing, and an interview, probably, with a celebrity every night instead of two or three. Everything else beyond that we're going to find it by doing it."

O'Brien and TBS are also partners in other projects, including TBS comedy People of Earth and the animated series Final Space.