What's Next for Conan O'Brien: Fact vs. Fiction

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In the three months since Conan O'Brien left NBC, he's started a Twitter account and unveiled plans for a 30-city comedy tour. But theories abound as to what the former Tonight Show host is going to do besides send self-deprecating tweets and perform at Bonnaroo. Below, the most pervasive rumors about O'Brien's next act—and whether they can possibly be true.

Movie Star
Rumor: Breathless headlines popped up around the Internet last week, announcing the possibility of O'Brien starring in a feature film. Does this mean Conan is finally going to perform the role he was born to play: Tilda Swinton's twin sister in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button: II?

Truth: No, the "Conan movie" isn't his big break as a leading man. The movie everyone is excited about is just a documentary of his upcoming tour—the kind of film that's been made for everyone from Dave Attel to the Blue Collar Comedy Tour.

American Idol Host
Rumor: As part of O'Brien's negotiations with Fox about a new show with the network, word has surfaced that he may host an episode of American Idol. Will he be going head to head with Ellen as the show's resident funny person?

Truth: Not exactly. The idea is that O'Brien would host American Idol Gives Back, the show's charity episode, which airs next month. And that may not even happen, since he's contractually prohibited from appearing on television until the fall, thanks to his settlement with NBC.

The New, Edgier Oprah
Rumor: Another theory that's surfaced from the Conan-Fox talks is that he may end up landing in a new time slot: daytime rather than late-night. The idea is that restrictions are laxer from 4:30 to 7:30 and he could get away with edgier material. So, is Conan going to be the raunchy king of daytime TV?

Truth: It remains to be seen. Reuters reports that O'Brien is "intrigued" by the idea of moving to daytime, but could the man who sees Johnny Carson as his role model really be at home competing against Jeopardy?

Presented by

Eleanor Barkhorn is a former senior editor at The Atlantic.

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