Conan O’Brien ready to take the stage


He can’t return to television until this fall, under his severance deal with NBC, but Conan O’Brien is getting back in the public eye with a stage show that begins a nationwide tour on Monday. First stop: Eugene, OR.

As you would expect, being ground zero for O’Brien’s return is big news in Eugene. The local Register-Guard newspaper notes that the show is a sell-out, including the $725 “Meet & Greet” ticket package. Most seats, though, are in the $39.50-$79.50 range.

How did the rather remote college town get the kick-off engagement for the tour? A spokeswoman for the 30-city “Legally Prohibited from Being funny on Television Tour” told the Register-Guard it was simply a matter of routing.

People attending the first show are likely to see and hear lots of new material and perhaps some new O’Brien characters. That’s because such popular skits and bits as “Triumph the Insult Comic Dog” and “Conando” are the intellectual property of former employer NBC Universal.

While the Monday show at the Hull Center for the Performing Arts is sold out, a quick check by RBR-TVBR found that Ticketmaster Canada still had seats available for the Tuesday and Wednesday shows in Vancouver, BC. The tour wraps up June 14 in Atlanta. Details are on O’Brien’s website.

RBR-TVBR observation: Still no word on whether Fox will make O’Brien an offer to return to late night television. A Leno-Letterman-O’Brien showdown would be quite a battle. However, the word on the street is that some Fox affiliates and even O&Os are hesitant to give up the profitable 11:00 pm time slot where they currently run syndicated reruns.