As his TBS yakker bows Nov. 8, don’t expect Conan O’Brien to reinvent the talkshow format.
But 10 months after he endured the Great Latenight Debacle at NBC, O’Brien has changed — and his take on the genre has likely evolved as well.
What’s more, O’Brien is launching his own franchise this time. The host previously inherited the house that David Letterman built — and then ascended to the “Tonight Show” throne once held by King Carson. But this time out, it’s Conan’s creation.
“Now we don’t have that hanging over our heads,” O’Brien’s longtime exec producer Jeff Ross says.
Conan and company also won’t face the same kind of ratings pressure. With the bar lower in cable, TBS will be ecstatic if “Conan” generates even half the ratings that NBC deemed disappointing for the O’Brien “Tonight Show.”
O’Brien has also spent the year immersing himself online for the first time, boasting nearly 2 million followers on Twitter. And his large-scale “Legally Prohibited From Being Funny on Television” nationwide tour gave him a chance to try his hand at entertaining auds in a completely different venue.
Those extracurricular activities presented a whole new set of tools for O’Brien to play with that he can now apply to the TBS show.