Premieres June 1 on NBC
When NBC announced that O'Brien would inherit the chair of Carson and Paar, the carrot-topped comic became the crown prince of late night. For a brief reign. When the network stunned the TV business by giving predecessor Jay Leno a five-night show at 10 p.m. E.T., to start in the fall, it clouded the picture: was Conan the new Jay, or was Jay the new Jay? We're hoping that the move frees Conan, who'll have a three-month head start to establish himself, to become something entirely different, broadening his appeal but keeping his dry comic essence, like David Letterman did when he moved on from the Late Show. Conan who will reunite with sidekick Andy Richter has thrived on being underestimated before; critics wrote off his Late Show debut as a failure. We can only hope he fails so well again.