The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien

The Tonight Show
with Conan O'Brien
The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien-Intertitle.jpg
Also known asThe Tonight Show (franchise brand)
Created bySylvester Weaver
Developed byConan O'Brien
Presented byConan O'Brien
StarringMax Weinberg and The Tonight Show Band
Andy Richter[1]
Narrated byAndy Richter[1]
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of episodes145 (1 unaired) (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)Jeff Ross[2] Conan O'Brien
Producer(s)Jordan Schlansky
Dan Fergusson
Production location(s)

Universal Studios
Hollywood, California

Stage 1
Running time62 minutes (with commercials)
Production company(s)Conaco
Universal Media Studios
Release
Original networkNBC
Picture format1080i (16:9 HDTV)
Original releaseJune 1, 2009 (2009-06-01) – January 22, 2010 (2010-01-22)
Chronology
Preceded byThe Tonight Show with Jay Leno (first incarnation)
Followed byThe Tonight Show with Jay Leno (second incarnation)
Related showsLate Night with Conan O'Brien
Conan

The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien is an American late-night talk show that featured Conan O'Brien as host from June 1, 2009, to January 22, 2010, as part of NBC's long-running Tonight Show franchise. O'Brien previously hosted NBC's Late Night with Conan O'Brien, which followed The Tonight Show with Jay Leno for 16 years, until his brief succession over Leno.

Many members of the Late Night cast and crew made the transition to The Tonight Show. The Max Weinberg 7, the house band from O'Brien's Late Night, served as the house band under the new name, Max Weinberg and The Tonight Show Band. Andy Richter returned to the show as announcer, and also began resuming his role as sidekick, shortly before the show's conclusion. The opening and closing theme song from Late Night was also carried over to Tonight, in a slightly altered form.

In January 2010, after the show had been on the air for seven months, it was announced that NBC was intending to move Jay Leno from primetime back to his original timeslot at 11:35 pm, with O'Brien's show starting shortly after midnight. In response to the announcement, O'Brien released a press statement saying that he would not continue as host of The Tonight Show if it was moved to any time after midnight to accommodate The Jay Leno Show. He feared it would ruin the long and rich tradition of The Tonight Show, which had been on after the late local newscasts from the beginning. After two weeks of negotiations, NBC announced that they had paid $45 million to buy out[3] O'Brien's contract, ending both his tenure as host as well as his relationship with NBC after 22 years.

Conan O'Brien's final Tonight Show was broadcast on January 22, 2010, with Jay Leno officially resuming his role as host on March 1, 2010, immediately following the conclusion of the 2010 Winter Olympics. It later received four Primetime Emmy nominations, including Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series, the first time The Tonight Show received a nomination for this particular award after 2003.

At only 146 episodes (145 aired) over the course of seven months and three weeks, it is the shortest-running iteration in the sixty-year history of The Tonight Show.

Format

The show followed the established six-piece format used previous hosts Jay Leno and Johnny Carson, as well as elements established by O'Brien during his tenure on Late Night. The first segment included a monologue by O'Brien, sometimes accompanied by altered news clips, or several brief comedy sketches. Most episodes also included a second segment, immediately after the monologue, with a full comedy sketch. An interview with either one or two guests followed, as well as a musical or comedy performance.

After the last performance segment, O'Brien walks on camera to thank the performers, and bids farewell to the audience, before recommending watching Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. For the first six shows, the credits ran in the right half of a split screen, a former NBC standard that Late Night continued to use long after the network abandoned it. After episode seven, NBC's current practice of running credits at the bottom third of the screen was employed.[citation needed] The Conaco and Universal Media Studios production tags are then shown in full-screen.

Sketches and comedy bits

New sketches included O'Brien posing for the paparazzi, known as "Conan's Tabloid Moment", and "Twitter Tracker", where an excited announcer reads mundane "tweets" by celebrities such as Ashton Kutcher, Miley Cyrus, and Dennis Haysbert. Sketches from Late Night reintroduced include "In the Year 2000" as "In the Year 3000", with Richter once again assisting Conan on the sketch, and "Celebrity Surveys". Popular Late Night character Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog appeared on Tonight for the first time on June 19, 2009, serving as correspondent for the Bonnaroo Music Festival in Tennessee. Another favorite character from Conan's old show, the Masturbating Bear, was also reintroduced on January 20, 2010, on Conan's third-to-last show.[4] O'Brien originally retired the Masturbating Bear at the end of his Late Night run due to concerns about its inappropriateness in the 11:30 time slot.[5] Late Night character The Interrupter made his first appearance on The Tonight Show on September 3, 2009.

Musical/comedy guests

As is the format on other late night talk shows, the last segment typically featured a performance by either a musical guest or a stand-up comedian, preceding the closing credits to the show. An avid guitar player, O'Brien has been given many guitars as gifts from several musical guests and on occasion, featured himself on acoustic guitar in a comedy sketch. He also played electric guitar during the final episode's cover performance of Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Free Bird".