Conan O'Brien

Talk Show Host / Writer

Born: 18 April 1963
Birthplace: Brookline, Massachusetts
Best known as:

Host of The Tonight Show, 2009-2010

Conan O'Brien is the comedian who became host of the flagship American late-night TV show, NBC's The Tonight Show, in 2009, then agreed to leave the show in a messy breakup in 2010. Conan O'Brien got his start in comedy as a student at Harvard, editing the prestigious satirical mag The Harvard Lampoon. Several jobs later he became a writer and producer for the hit TV comedy The Simpsons. That's where he was when Lorne Michaels plucked him from relative obscurity and made him the host of NBC's show Late Night in 1993. Lanky, red-haired and puckishly ironical, Conan O'Brien replaced David Letterman in the time slot following the long-running hit The Tonight Show, then hosted by Jay Leno. O'Brien was a success and became known less for celebrity chat than for his screwball gags on all kinds of topics, from his alleged resemblance to red-haired Finnish president Tarja Halonen to a fictional Web celebrity called the Horny Manatee. Late Night With Conan O'Brien ran from 12:30-1:30 am for nearly 16 years, until 2009, when O'Brien became host of the The Tonight Show, which runs from 11:30 pm - 12:30 am weeknights on the network. O'Brien's ratings were low (due in part to bad ratings from a nightly show Leno started hosting at 10:00 pm), and after a turbulent month of wrangling in January 2010, O'Brien agreed to an NBC buyout of a reported $32 million, plus another $12 million for his staff, to leave The Tonight Show and let Leno return as its host. Leno reclaimed the show in March of 2010, and Conan O'Brien announced the next month that he would begin a new late-night show on cable channel TBS. That show launched in November of 2010. In 2014, his contract was renewed for four more years, through the year 2018.

Extra credit:

Conan O'Brien's bandleader on his NBC show, Max Weinberg, also drummed for rocker Bruce Springsteen... Conan O'Brien married ad executive Liza Powel on 12 January 2002; they have a daughter, Neve, born on 14 October 2003, and a son, Beckett, born on 9 November 2005... Conan O'Brien is a cousin to comedian Denis Leary... Other past editors of the Harvard Lampoon include Doug Kenney and Robert Benchley.

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