Conan O’Brien is an American television host, comedian, writer and producer who has a net worth of $200 million. He is best known for hosting late-night talk shows, including Late Night with Conan O’Brien and The Tonight Show on NBC, before starting his late-night show, Conan, on TBS in 2010.
Conan O’Brien Net Worth
According to the Celebrity Net Worth, Conan O’Brien has accumulated an impressive net worth of $200 million. Most of his wealth comes from his successful career as a late-night television host. O’Brien reportedly earned around $12 million annually hosting Late Night with Conan O’Brien on NBC. When he took over The Tonight Show in 2009, his salary increased to $15 million annually.
After moving to TBS in 2010, O’Brien’s annual earnings from his Conan show are estimated to be around $12 million annually. In addition, he received a sizable $45 million buyout settlement from NBC due to his abrupt Tonight Show exit. After leaving NBC, O’Brien also earns income from his production company, Conaco, and his comedy tour.
Other contributing factors to O’Brien’s high net worth include his real estate properties and stock investments. He owns an $18 million mansion in Brentwood, Los Angeles, where he films his TBS show. In 2009, O’Brien paid $10.5 million for a penthouse in Century City, Los Angeles.
Early Life and Education
Conan O’Brien was born on April 18, 1963, in Brookline, Massachusetts. He was the third of six children born to Thomas O’Brien and Ruth O’Brien (née Reardon). His father was a physician, epidemiologist, and professor of medicine at Harvard University. His mother was an attorney and partner at the Boston firm Ropes & Gray.
O’Brien attended Brookline High School, where he served as the managing editor of the school newspaper, The Sagamore. After graduating as valedictorian in 1981, he attended Harvard University. However, he lived in Holworthy Hall and concentrated on history and literature.
At Harvard, O’Brien wrote for the Harvard Lampoon humor magazine and was elected president during his senior year. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard in 1985 with a bachelor’s degree in American history.
Career Beginnings on Saturday Night Live
After graduating from college, O’Brien moved to Los Angeles to join the writing staff of HBO’s Not Necessarily the News. He spent two years with the show before being hired as a writer for Saturday Night Live in 1988. O’Brien wrote for SNL for three seasons and was one of the show’s producers.
Some of O’Brien’s notable sketches from SNL include Mr. Short-Term Memory and the Girl Watchers series he created with Robert Smigel. O’Brien also co-wrote the famous sketch The Chris Farley Show. Also, Farley portrayed a highly energetic talk-show host who frequently interrupts and intimidates his guests.
Host of Late Night with Conan O’Brien
O’Brien left SNL to host his talk show on NBC in 1991. When Johnny Carson retired from The Tonight Show in 1992, NBC chose Jay Leno to take over the prestigious late-night spot instead of David Letterman.
NBC gave him control of Late Night to appease Letterman, which aired after The Tonight Show at 12:35 am. Letterman, in turn, suggested O’Brien, whom NBC approved, to host the show.
O’Brien debuted as host of Late Night with Conan O’Brien in September 1993 at age 30. That makes him one of the youngest late-night talk show hosts in history. The show originated from Studio 6A at NBC Studios in New York and featured a house band led by Max Weinberg, the former drummer for Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band.
Conan on TBS
Following his departure from NBC, O’Brien embarked on a 30-city comedy and music tour called The Legally Prohibited from Being Funny on Television Tour. On April 12, 2010, he announced he had signed a deal with TBS to host his late-night show, Conan, beginning in November.
The show, which films at Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank, California, premiered on November 8, 2010. From the vintage set modelled after his Late Night days to recurring comedy bits, the TBS show maintained much of the style and spirit of O’Brien’s previous NBC late-night programs.
Some regular segments included Celebrity Survey, Clueless Gamer, Audience Awards, and Basic Cable Name That Tune. O’Brien founded the production company Conaco in 2003, which has produced shows such as the TBS comedy People of Earth and the podcast-turned-TV series Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend.
Sources of Income
The primary source of Conan O’Brien’s multimillion-dollar net worth is his lucrative salary as a late-night talk show host. After earning around $2 million per year hosting Late Night on NBC, his pay increased when he took over The Tonight Show in 2009, reportedly earning up to $15 million annually during his short tenure.
When O’Brien moved to TBS in 2010 to start his Conan show, he signed a reported 5-year, $60 million contract, giving him an annual salary of $12 million. In addition, he received a $45 million buyout payment from NBC after his abrupt Tonight Show exit. O’Brien’s current deal with TBS to host Conan was renewed through 2022, likely with a similar yearly salary.
Additional income streams for O’Brien include his production company, Conaco, which produces shows such as People of Earth. As company president, O’Brien earns money from Conaco’s various TV and digital projects.
Conan has been involved in several entrepreneurial ventures. In 2015, he co-founded the men’s clothing company Team Coco along with entrepreneur Aaron Bleyaert. The company sells T-shirts, jackets, hats, and accessories adorned with O’Brien’s Late Night caricatures and comedy catchphrases.
More recently, O’Brien turned his humorous podcast Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend into a Team Coco Digital Studios media company. Launched in December 2020, Team Coco Digital creates, produces, and distributes digital content across platforms like YouTube, podcasts, and mobile apps. O’Brien serves as President and Chief Creative Officer.
Conan O’Brien met Elizabeth Ann Liza Powel in 2002 when she appeared on Late Night to promote an advertising campaign. The couple dated for nearly 18 months before married on January 12, 2002, at St. James Catholic Church in Seattle. They have two children together – son Beckett, born in 2003, and daughter Neve, born in 2005.
O’Brien has two siblings involved in the entertainment industry – brother Justin is a television producer, and sister Kate is an Emmy-winning comedy writer.
An avid supporter of workers’ rights, O’Brien is a Writers Guild of America member and went on strike for the union in 2007-2008. During the last two weeks of the strike, he grew a long beard, which surprised viewers upon his Late Night return.
Conan O’Brien has been an active philanthropist, generously giving back to various causes and organizations. In 2016, he donated $500,000 to provide college scholarships to high school students in Los Angeles through the LA Promise Fund.
O’Brien has supported charities like the Born Free Foundation, Harlem Children’s Zone, Autism Speaks, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Stand Up to Cancer, and the Cantor Fitzgerald Relief Fund.
After the 2010 Haiti earthquake, O’Brien hosted a star-studded telethon that raised over $1 million in donations for relief efforts. During the 2007-2008 Writers Guild strike, he donated food to striking writers and fully supported their cause.
FAQs on Conan O’Brien Net Worth
How did Conan O’Brien get his start in comedy?
After graduating from Harvard, Conan O’Brien started in comedy as a writer on Saturday Night Live’s hit show in 1988.
Why did Conan O’Brien leave The Tonight Show?
Conan O’Brien took over as host of The Tonight Show from Jay Leno in 2009.
What was Conan O’Brien’s comedy tour after leaving NBC?
After exiting NBC, O’Brien launched a 30-city comedy and music tour in 2010 called “The Legally Prohibited from Being Funny on Television Tour.”
Conan O’Brien’s remarkable career has cemented his place in comedy history. From his humble beginnings writing for Saturday Night Live to hosting Late Night and Tonight Show, O’Brien built a name for himself with his quirky, self-deprecating humour and distinctly awkward persona.
However, O’Brien continues to entertain devoted fans with his TBS show Conan. His generosity as a philanthropist and savvy as an entrepreneur have also contributed to his $200 million net worth.