Conan O'Brien Is Ready to Pick Up Where `Hee Haw' Left Off With TBS Show

Conan O’Brien said he’s ready to get back on television with Time Warner Inc.’s TBS cable network after being ousted as host of NBC’s “Tonight Show” four months ago.

“My vision for the TBS show is to pick up where ‘Hee Haw’ left off,” O’Brien, 47, said today at a TBS and TNT programming presentation for advertisers in New York. “I haven’t done any research, but my hunch is that 33-year-old males want to hear corny jokes and live country music.”

O’Brien said he and Steve Koonin, president of Turner Entertainment Networks, clicked instantly at J-Date, the online dating service. The new show starts on Nov. 8. Since his departure from NBC, O’Brien’s been traveling around the country on his “Legally Prohibited From Being Funny on Television Tour,” which he says gave him ideas for his TBS show.

“They believe in me, I believe in them, and I can’t wait to get back to having fun on television,” O’Brien said. “That’s all I want to do.”

TBS and TNT opened the event with a gag video of O’Brien in a deep funk before signing with TBS.

The comedian is lying on the floor in a fat suit, sporting long hair and a long beard, surrounded by beer bottles and pizza. As the song “All By Myself” plays, O’Brien jumps alone on a trampoline, picks out five bottles of wine and makes a smoothie complete with Doritos and Crisco. His daughter walks in when he’s sleeping and says “Mom, Daddy smells like pee!”

Then, O’Brien gets the call from TBS and accepts the job. He works out, cuts his beard and sheds the fat suit. The video closed with O’Brien declaring, “I’m ready. Let’s do this.”

O’Brien is in the middle of a stand-up tour across the country that he said has helped him “build a muscle that wasn’t there before” and will inevitably influence his show on TBS. He said he doesn’t know details yet about the new program.

“I’m more of a man,” Conan told reporters after the event today. “My testosterone levels have tripled since I went through this experience.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Sarah Rabil in New York at srabil@bloomberg.net

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