Here's one way to get your own TV show: Kill on "Conan." Case in point: comedian Pete Holmes, a rising star who wowed O'Brien during appearances on his TBS late-night show. Starting Monday night at midnight, Holmes gets his own talk show, following "Conan" on TBS.
Holmes, 34, is best known for his web presence: He has logged more than 300 hours on his podcast, "You Made It Weird With Pete Holmes."
"Pete is a lot younger than me and is a product of the digital age," said O'Brien, 50, who got hooked on Holmes' shows and eventually started booking him as a frequent guest. "When I started doing late-night, I was covered in afterbirth. I practically learned to walk on the air. Pete is starting ahead of the game." But Holmes admits it's going to be a learning curve with his half-hour show, which has a seven-week commitment.
"You go from being a lone wolf whose sole responsibility is being funny for 45 minutes to running a staff," Holmes said.
"Pete's not going to be overly topical," said Jeff Ross, "Conan's" executive producer. "It's going to be more silly humor. In that way, they are very compatible shows."
One benefit of having O'Brien as a boss is the opportunity to use him as a sounding board. On occasion, the veteran host has provided valuable advice, Holmes said.
"Conan told me it's the job of the writers and the producers to make the whole show like a playground for me," he said. "It's their job to build it, make sure it's safe and make sure it's fun, so I can go out and just be silly."