UPDATE: TBS president Kevin Reilly walked back reports that “Conan” would be shifting to a weekly format in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter on Thursday.
Although Reilly maintains that there’s a “distinct possibility” that O’Brien’s brand will evolve at the network, he says that the ultimate scheduling decision will be made by the comedian himself. The executive would not give a definite time frame for changes in the format, but told the media outlet that plans would go into motion sometime between now and May.
“Conan remains an invaluable franchise, partner and producer for our TBS brand and we’ll be in business with him for a long time,” he said in a statement. “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.”
PREVIOUSLY: TBS’ “Conan” is reportedly undergoing major changes in the new year to respond to the current late-night television landscape.
The series, which has aired Monday through Thursday since 2010, will reportedly shift to a weekly format, according to Turner chairman and CEO John Martin, who runs the network. TBS declined to comment when contacted by The Huffington Post.
Martin exclusively revealed to The Wrap that weekly one-hour episodes are a better fit for the seasoned host, considering the success of Samantha Bee’s “Full Frontal.” Although Martin told the media outlet that he believed O’Brien was “holding his own” ratings-wise, the series regularly falls well below cable competitors like “The Daily Show.”
Martin also apparently credited the switch to the the overcrowded and highly competitive nature of late-night, which currently boasts more than 10 talk shows, each with its own dedicated following.
O’Brien, he said, functions best when he’s on the road performing live for audiences around the world. The comedian recently traveled to do stand up in Cuba and South Korea, which apparently boosted the series’ Nielsen TV ratings.