So long, Basic Cable Band! Conan O’Brien bid farewell Thursday night to Jimmy Vivino and the band that’s played him on for 25 years since his days at NBC. Conan will move to a 30-minute format in 2019, a departure from the typical hourlong late night variety show that’s worked well for decades. Similar half-hour late night shows have existed on cable with The Daily Show, Colbert Report, and Full Frontal, but O’Brien has always operated within the hourlong format coming from broadcast television. The last time a network tried to mess with his format, NBC tried to push him to midnight resulting in his infamous departure from The Tonight Show.
Part of the move involves the former Late Night host creating more digital content, one of O’Brien’s strengths. He’ll also be signing talent deals with younger stand-ups for live tours and web projects of their own. With all those extra half hours, the Harvard alum will have time for his new podcast Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend. Little is known about the new Conan, but it is expected he will carry over segments popular with his fans and will still interview celebrity guests. Although we will get less of O’Brien on TBS, it looks like we can expect to get a net gain of red-headed content in 2019.
Poor Conan O’Brien continues to be shuffled around by TV executives who don’t know what to do with him and his rabid fan base. Like a craps player who keeps moving bets around on the table, it might be best to just leave him on the Pass Line and let him work his magic.
Watch him bid farewell to the Basic Cable Band on Thursday’s Conan.