There’s going to be a lot less Conan in your life.
Turner CEO John Martin announced that Conan will be moving to a once a week format. They site his success with his recent remote pieces as a reason for the change.
Conan has produced segments in South Korea, Cuba, and Berlin and Turner feels like he’s at his best on the road. They say although Conan is doing fine in the ratings, the late night field is just too crowded.
Conan regularly gets lower ratings than the Daily Show and is often beat out by Watch What Happens Live on Bravo. All the network shows get way better ratings than anything on cable, so that’s not even worth comparing.
I have mixed feelings about this. The late night field is overcrowded and with the monologue and interview segments being the most forgettable part of all late night shows, it makes sense to let Conan cut that out. Doing a weekly show that relies on interesting remotes, more sketches, or longer videos will play to Conan’s strengths and most likely provide more viral videos at least if not Nielsen viewers.
But it’s also sad. Conan is great. Late Night was great. It was wonderful to have such an odd voice of comedy on TV for everyone to enjoy. But by moving to TBS, he ended up going back to have a small niche audience with little relevance to the general public. With younger people drawn towards the political comedy of late night shows, there’s not much of a place left for Conan to have a traditional talk show. And it makes one wonder if he’s happier with this much smaller place at the table, or if he wished he would have just followed Leno at midnight.
In the end, a weekly Conan should be great. Forget the monologue and interviews with people who we’ve seen talk boringly a million other times and who probably just went viral singing in a car. An hour of videos and segments sounds wonderful and can possibly make Conan a significant voice of comedy again.