After Huge Send-Off, O’Brien’s Future is Uncertain

By Andrew Gauthier 


Conan O’Brien signed off from the “Tonight Show” on Friday with a guitar in his hands, riding a swell of support from his fans. Friday’s show scored a huge 7.0 rating and O’Brien certainly hopes to take some of that audience with him as he charts out his next career move.

According to The New York Post, O’Brien won’t have to wait very long before he has another show set. The Post reported on Monday that Fox is moving quickly to sign the suddenly unemployed late-night veteran. According to a Post source, talks between the network and O’Brien could begin as early as this week.


As Fox and others vie to become O’Brien’s new home, there is some uncertainty about just how big of a draw the longtime “Late Night” host will be. The outpouring of support for O’Brien, typified by the “I’m With COCO” campaign, has been unprecedented. However, as Bill Carter of The New York Times recently pointed out, the young fans that showed their support via Twitter and organized COCO rallies on Facebook, may not be dedicated enough to sustain a late-night program on a broadcast network. “For most of this past fall,” Carter writes, “Mr. O’Brien struggled to command the young viewers he needed to counter a falloff in overall audience numbers.”

While O’Brien’s future remains uncertain, one thing is clear: from now on, a late-night send-off could always use more cowbell. (Full episode here)