Conan O’Brien may be making his return sooner than expected and in a fashion unexpected for the former late night host. He may be taking his act on the road.
The former Tonight Show host is believed to be attracted to the idea as it will allow him to talk directly to fans, a source told The Hollywood Reporter.
According to a source familiar with the plans that was not authorized to discuss plans publicly, O’Brien may perform live on a tour of U.S. venues, college campuses and even a trip to Europe.
Under terms of a settlement reached, NBC will pay Conan $33 million, which is the balance of his three-year contract, with an additional $12 million that is going to laid-off producers and staff.
Until Sept. 1, Conan can’t work elsewhere and for a shorter period of time, he can’t talk trash about his former employer, appear on other talk shows or do interviews.
The exit contract doesn’t bar him from doing stage performances.
The tour is likely to be followed with a new show for O’Brien, who quit Tonight last month when the network attempted to shift him to a later slot. Possibilities include Fox, which has previously expressed interest.
Expect the road tour to be tied in to a new Internet presence for O’Brien, allowing Team Coco members to interact via an official hub for the once-and-possibly-future late-night host.
As for when and where O’Brien will land next on TV, all signs continue to point to Fox as the first candidate for a new home, assuming all sides can figure out a way to make things work financially. While neither O’Brien’s camp nor Fox is talking, even privately, late-night industry insiders say it wouldn’t be shocking if the two sides begin face-to-face meetings by next month.
An O’Brien spokesman declined comment.
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