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Comedian and writer Conan O'Brien rose to fame as the host of the talk show Late Night and later the Tonight Show and Conan.
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After four years on the air, NBC finally gave O'Brien a lucrative five-year contract. In 2001, O'Brien formed his own television production company, Conaco, which shared in the production credits for Late Night.
During his time as Late Night host, O'Brien pushed the envelope with his quirky, comedic stunts. In 2006, he inadvertently invented a cult following after making a joke about an amorous manatee Web site. Two years later, during the Writers Guild of America strike,
Conan created his own series of material to fill the gap. His performances included a staged dispute with comedian Jon Stewart of The Daily Show, and a stunt in which O'Brien ziplined through his audience to his anchor desk.
O'Brien replaced Jay Leno on NBC's Tonight Show, after Leno's contract expired in 2009. Comedian Jimmy Fallon was chosen as O'Brien's replacement on Late Night, and O'Brien moved to Tonight Show's headquarters in California. A few months before O'Brien took the reins, Leno renegotiated his contract with NBC, moving to a prime-time slot just before O'Brien's show. When Leno's program produced poor ratings, the network attempted to shift the programming schedule.
O'Brien, who had only been on the show for seven months, refused to make the switch. "It was my mistaken belief that, like my predecessor, I would have the benefit of some time and, just as important, some degree of ratings support from the prime-time schedule," he told his audience. O'Brien officially ended his contract with NBC in 2010 and moved his late night show, Conan, to the cable television network, TBS.
O'Brien met Liza Powell, an advertising executive, in 2000 when she appeared in a skit on Late Night. The two began dating, and a year later announced their engagement. The couple married on January 12, 2002, in Seattle, Washington. O'Brien and Powell have two children.
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