‘Conan O’Brien Must Go,’ the Host’s Return to TV, Gets a Max Premiere Date

“Conan O’Brien Must Go” is finally going. The long-in-the-works project, announced last year during Warner Bros. Discovery’s upfronts presentation, has been given a premiere date: Thursday, April 18 on Max.

O’Brien announced the premiere date of the show’s four episodes on Saturday at SXSW, during an on-stage conversation with comedian Nick Kroll.

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The “Conan O’Brien Must Go” open is narrated by filmmaker Werner Herzog. “I can not confirm or deny the identity of who that person is,” O’Brien quipped.

“Conan O’Brien Must Go” is inspired by O’Brien’s podcast, “Conan O’Brien Needs a Fan” (in which he chats with listeners from around the globe), and follows the host as he meets up with fans in Norway, Thailand, Argentina, and Ireland. Conaco produces the show, with O’Brien and Jeff Ross as executive producers.

O’Brien said the production would spend between a week and 10 days shooting in a country.

Conan O'Brien
Conan O'Brien

“There are funny people all over the globe and they all have their own rhythm,” O’Brien said. “Everyone in Ireland is a comedian… I love talking to people who don’t know who I am, don’t care. I’m a connection junkie, I like to connect with people. I think this show is my way to get my fix.”

“Conan O’Brien Must Go” fulfills the promise first made when O’Brien announced in 2020 that his self-titled TBS late-night show “Conan” would end in June 2021. Part of the plan was for O’Brien to launch a weekly series for HBO Max, where he had signed a deal for a new weekly variety series to premiere the following year.

But 2022 came and went with no sign of a new O’Brien show. Or, for that matter, any new installments of his travel specials, “Conan Without Borders,” which had also aired on TBS.

As for the new show, “The look can get more cinematic. We get to use drones and we have the money to use costumes. We have a lot more we can do than when we were in the field on a week off,” O’Brien said of doing this show vs. the one-off “Conan Without Borders” specials.

“Conan” ran for 11 years on TBS, the capper to his 28-year stint in late night. “Conan Without Borders” has visited 13 countries and has won an Emmy.

O’Brien said he was ready to leave the talk show world behind after nearly three decades. “It was easier than I thought it would be… I did it for 28 years and I realized, ‘OK I did this.’ We don’t know how much time we get in life and I want to double down on what I want to do now. I like to challenge myself and try new things.”

Since the end of “Conan,” O’Brien has focused on building his “Team Coco” media company, with a focus on a growing podcast empire. That includes “Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend” (with Conan O’Brien, Sona Movsesian and Matt Gourley), which has amassed more than 427 million downloads. Team Coco, which was acquired by SiriusXM in 2022, includes digital and branded content, live events, merchandise and other production.

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