January 5, 2017


Is Conan O'Brien's Talk Show Getting Downsized From Nightly to Weekly?

Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Turner
Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Turner

Update: Not so fast. TBS emailed Vanity Fair the following statement, and it sounds more exciting than dispiriting:

"Conan remains an invaluable franchise, partner and producer for our TBS brand and we'll be in business with him for a long time. As the media landscape continues to evolve, Conan will continue to lead the evolution of what a talk show will be in the digital age. At this time, we have no plans to change the format or frequency of his popular TBS show. In addition to Conan's daily responsibilities to his talk show, we continue to have very ambitious plans that will further broaden and evolve our relationship with Conan."

Original story: Well, at least he got to do his thing again, undisturbed, for a while. Six-and-a-half years after returning to late-night TV with Conan, Mr. O'Brien is having his talk show scaled down from nightly to weekly. (Before Conan, there was the whole "here, take The Tonight Show, man—actually, please give it back to Jay Leno" shitshow.) There's no timeline set.

The Wrap reports that Turner CEO John Martin claims late night is too crowded and competitive, while also admitting that O’Brien is holding his own. The article says Conan's road episodes—including those filmed in Cuba, South Korea and Berlin—have "worked best," proving "a boon both creatively and in TV ratings."

In 2014, Conan was renewed through 2018.

For some actual numerical explanation, The Wrap writes:

"Conan regularly loses in Nielsen TV ratings to key cable competition The Daily Show—and by a pretty decent margin. In the recent fourth quarter of 2016, Conan averaged 638,000 total viewers in Nielsen’s Live + 3 Day numbers. Trevor Noah landed 1.3 million per episode." 

The article (optimistically?) points out that Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, another celebrated TBS show, and one of Fuse's favorite new shows of 2016, also airs weekly.