NEW YORK – Amid a flurry of changes in the late-night TV landscape, TBS is sticking with Conan O’Brien. The network announced Wednesday that it renewed “Conan” through 2018.
“Over the past 4 years, we have built a terrific relationship with Conan O’Brien and are thrilled to be extending his series for another 3 years,” said Michael Wright, president and head of programming for TBS and TNT, in the news release announcing the renewal.
Wright praised O’Brien, whose fans skew younger than those of most other late-night hosts, for bringing “an incredibly young audience to TBS.” The network also touted O’Brien’s strong digital presence: The host has 10.7 million followers on Twitter and 2.5 million Facebook fans.
“We couldn’t have asked for a better late-night host or a more enthusiastic ambassador for the TBS brand,” Wright said.
O’Brien brought his off-kilter brand of comedy to the Turner-owned cable network in November 2010 after his acrimonious departure from NBC’s “The Tonight Show.” The program debuted strong to 4.1 million viewers, but now draws a fraction of that number, averaging 796,000 same-day viewers nightly over the last 12 months. But the show has carved out a niche among younger fans of so-called geek culture. Next year, it will become the first late-night talk show to tape at San Diego Comic Con, the annual confab that is a magnet for gamers, comic book enthusiasts and lovers of genre fare.
The renewal of “Conan” brings some stability to the late-night hours, which are in a period of major transition, with “The Tonight Show” now hosted by Jimmy Fallon, Stephen Colbert set to replace David Letterman at CBS in 2015 and Craig Ferguson leaving “The Late Late Show” at the end of this year.