Conan O’Brien’s Late-Night TBS Show Will End After 11 Years

The comedian heads to HBO Max with weekly variety series

a picture of conan o
Conan O'Brien has been a late-night staple for 28 years. Getty Images

A decade after debuting his late-night staple on TBS, comedian Conan O’Brien has set an end date to his eponymous show. Conan will wrap its run at the end of its 10th season in June 2021, the WarnerMedia-owned cable network said today.

O’Brien has already lined up his next project. He will move over to WarnerMedia streamer HBO Max with a new weekly variety series. Meanwhile, his periodic travel specials, Conan Without Borders, will continue airing on TBS.

“In 1993 Johnny Carson gave me the best advice of my career: ‘As soon as possible, get to a streaming platform,’” O’Brien said in a statement. “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.”

Conan’s conclusion marks the end of an era in linear late night, where O’Brien has been a staple for nearly three decades. O’Brien made his name on NBC late-night as the host of Late Night With Conan O’Brien, where he replaced David Letterman in 1993.

He left Late Night in 2009 and replaced Jay Leno as host of The Tonight Show a year later. But following a dispute with NBC, which attempted to return Leno to the 11:30 p.m. time slot after declining ratings, O’Brien and the network reached a settlement, and he exited The Tonight Show in January 2010.

He moved to TBS that November, and his show became particularly known for showcasing up-and-coming comics with a more irreverent and absurdist tone than some of the comic’s more straitlaced broadcast counterparts.

In 2018, O’Brien moved to evolve his relationship with the media company then known as Turner by cutting Conan down to a 30-minute format and expanding the digital and social footprint of O’Brien’s Team Coco portfolio, which now includes a weekly podcast, Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend.

“28 years is a monumental achievement in late-night television,” said Brett Weitz, TNT, TBS and truTV’s general manager, in a statement. “We’re incredibly proud of the groundbreaking work that Conan and his team have accomplished during the 10 years at TBS and are so glad that we will continue to have his presence on our air with the Conan Without Borders specials. We celebrate his success and are glad to see it grow across our WarnerMedia family.”

Most of the details about Conan’s forthcoming HBO Max series, including its name and its premiere date, remain under wraps. It will surely bolster HBO Max’s original output that had been noticeably limited due to Covid-19-related production delays.

“Conan’s unique brand of energetic, relatable, and at times, absurdist, comedy has charmed late-night audiences for nearly three decades. We can’t wait to see what he and the rest of Team Coco will dream up for this brand new, variety format each week,” Casey Bloys, the newly instated chief content officer of HBO and HBO Max, said in a statement.

HBO Max has looked to up the ante on the service that has found only modest uptake. Just today, the service was made available on Amazon Fire TV devices, helping expand the service’s footprint to more than 40 million devices.

Last month, WarnerMedia told investors that total domestic HBO and HBO Max subscribers combined had topped 38 million in the U.S. and that 8.7 million subscribers had signed up for HBO Max directly.    

@kelseymsutton Kelsey Sutton is the streaming editor at Adweek, where she covers the business of streaming television.