The DoomsDay clock has moved yet again another minute closer to midnight on the new formatted TBS Conan O’Brien show. It was announced back in 2018 that TBS was going to revitalize the show and bring it into the modern era of 2019. The catalyst for the revamp was due to Conan’s slow sinking ratings and TBS wanting to add more original sitcoms to their roster. Across the board ratings for late night, programming has become very competitive due to the ever-growing competition. It seems like every year another person gets their own late night show. Its going to get to the point where there won’t be enough celebrities to go around to do interviews. Which wouldn’t be a bad thing, because then I might get a chance to be a guest?
I do admire Conan because he stuck to the traditional late-night show format popularized by Johnny Carson for almost 25 years. But like you say when your old jeans from college don’t fit anymore “the times they be a changing and no more Snickers bars.” With the growth of social media came an audience that has a short attention span and requires more excitement to keep them watching.
Many late night shows answered the call with tons of gimmicks, political soap boxes, and shock comedy. Jimmy Fallon has revamped “The Tonight Show” into a more hip variety sketch comedy show whereas Colbert has cornered the late night market on all things political satire. People tend to say what hurt Conan’s show was making the move to basic cable when in turn it was because he was running the same show format that he started in the 90s. So in a crazy, and I believe strange, move, instead of trying to pump up the show with new and exciting segments/ideas TBS decided to slash it in half.
I was under the impression that the new formate would include more remote pieces where Conan had found much success in the online media market. His social media segments from “Conan Without Borders” ranked in millions of views of YouTube. Sadly, there weren’t any changes, TBS just stripped the show of all its major components. From taking away the band, his suit, and desk to making his stage look like something out of a low budget sketch comedy show, they have set him up for failure.
The show still follows its old format of monologue, one comedy sketch, and then just one interview. The minute the first condensed Conan show aired in 2019 you could tell that Conan and Andy were not impressed by the changes. To fill the void Team Coco had vamped up their social content across the board and even started a new podcast.
Personally, I still believe that Conan O’Brien is one of the most talented and perhaps the funniest late night hosts out there. I respect him a lot because he doesn’t fall into the political Trump trap that much and sticks to good old fashion comedy. If I were him I would kick that minute hand to midnight and make the move to online media. Joel McCale has found much success on his new show on Netflix which is just “Talk Soup” and David Letterman is ranking in the ratings with “My Next Guest.” I believe Conan’s destiny lies in online media where he will have more freedom to do his show just how he wants. There’s no telling when the doomsday clock with strike midnight at TBS for Conan, but I’m pretty sure he’s going to be land somewhere better and stronger like Steve Austin in the “Six Million Dollar Man.”