It’s the end of an era in late night but the dawn of a new beginning on streaming. Conan O’Brien is permanently cutting his strings from late night and dancing away as the longest serving host currently on air, but thankfully this isn’t ‘goodbye,’ it’s simply ‘see you on a less frequent basis.’ It has been confirmed that O’Brien will continue with his award-winning podcast series Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend
and will launch a new weekly variety series on HBO Max based on his hugely successful Conan Without Borders
specials.TBS announced on November 17 that O’Brien was ending his 10-year run with the network in 2021. "In 1993, Johnny Carson gave me the best advice of my career: 'As soon as possible, get to a streaming platform,'" O’Brien joked in a statement
released on Tuesday. "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.”The end of Conan
marks the conclusion of a 28-year career in late night. Beginning his professional comedy career as a writer on Saturday Night Live
and later as a writer and producer on The Simpsons
(the iconic "Marge vs. the Monorail" was all O’Brien), the comedian pivoted to hosting. In 1993, O’Brien joined NBC as the host of Late Night
, taking over for David Letterman. O’Brien held the position until 2009 when he took over for Jay Leno on The Tonight Show
. After only 10 months as host, Leno announced that he was returning to The Tonight Show
and in a highly controversial move, NBC immediately removed O’Brien and reinstated Leno.Thankfully, O’Brien found a new home at TBS with Conan
. In 2019, the one-hour series was revamped to a 30-minute nightly show that featured only one guest and allowed for more in-depth interviewing. Following Letterman’s retirement in 2015 after 33 years on the air, O’Brien became the longest-running late-night host currently on TV.Fans will continue to enjoy the comedy and musings of the beloved comedian following the end of his historic late night run. O’Brien will continue with his podcast Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend
, which he hosts with his assistant Sona Movsesian and the show's producer Matt Gourley. Debuting in 2018, the podcast has featured several notable guests, including Michelle Obama, Will Ferrell, Stephen Colbert and Neil Young. In January, the podcast won Best Comedy at the iHeartRadio Podcast Awards.O’Brien will also be continuing his hugely impressive travel specials that ran during his Conan late-night show on TBS. The new weekly variety series Conan Without Borders
will begin streaming on HBO Max in 2021 and allow O’Brien and his crew more time to explore the world outside of the U.S. Granted, 2020 is not the best time to announce a travel show, but we are hopeful for a more travel-friendly 2021. O’Brien began the segment in 2015 when he became the first American television personality to film in Cuba in over 50 years. O’Brien and his crew have also explored South Korea, Armenia, and Ghana.
While many fans are disappointed that they will no longer see Conan and his famous coif on a daily basis, the success of his travel series and the promise of more episodes is an exciting prospect.
Comedian Roy Wood Jr. also tweeted his support for O’Brien, whom he credits as the only late-night host who continually gave new and up-and-coming comics time on his nightly TV show.
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