In a classic bit of good news / bad news, TBS announced today that Conan, its talk show hosted by late night mainstay Conan O’Brien, would come to an end next year. In its place, O’Brien is shifting from cable to streaming, and will launch a new “weekly variety series” on WarnerMedia’s HBO Max streaming service.

Conan will end its 10-year run on TBS next June. After that, his weekly show will launch on HBO Max. (O’Brien’s Conan Without Borders travel specials will also continue.) Here was Conan’s comment on the news, via press release:

In 1993 Johnny Carson gave me the best advice of my career: ‘As soon as possible, get to a streaming platform.’ I’m thrilled that I get to continue doing whatever the hell it is I do on HBO Max, and I look forward to a free subscription.

After stints on the staff of Saturday Night Live and The Simpsons, Conan joined the world of talk shows in 1993, when he replaced David Letterman as the host of NBC’s Late Night. After a rocky start, he became a critical and popular success in the 12:35 AM slot, and eventually replaced Jay Leno as host of The Tonight Show in 2009. But then NBC had second thoughts about the move, and brought back Leno and dismissed Conan in January of 2010. He moved to TBS that November. (In 2019, Conan was pared down from an hourlong show to 30 minutes.)

O’Brien’s joke about getting to a streaming platform speaks to an increasing truth about television, where on demand viewing is becoming increasingly dominant. When Conan fought so hard for The Tonight Show and its famous 11:35 PM time slot, it still actually mattered when and where things aired on TV. Now you can make something for HBO Max and anyone can watch it whenever and wherever they want. It will be weird and a little sad to live in a world without Conan in late night. But he’s making a smart move.

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