Conan O'Brien returns to the air

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Conan O'Brien returns to late-night TV tonight on the cable channel TBS.

Former "Tonight Show" host Conan O'Brien begins his new show on TBS tonight. He's been off the air since January, when he hosted "The Tonight Show" on NBC for the last time.

O'Brien was host of the "Tonight Show" for just months before he left in a spat with NBC. The network wanted to push his show back a half hour, allowing Jay Leno to return to late night after a failed stint in prime time.

Now O'Brien is returning to late night with a new cable show. Writer Rob Kutner says the crew has spent months preparing.

"We've been testing everything in our comedy lab out in the Mojave Desert, seeing if we can get crash test dummies to laugh," jokes Kutner.

O'Brien won't be able to use some of the old gags he relied on as host of "The Tonight Show" and, before that, on "Late Night with Conan O'Brien." NBC still owns the intellectual property rights to a lot of the routines on those shows.

"So it really has been creating with a blank slate," says Kutner.

Kutner told KPCC's Alex Cohen his big concern is that people won't be able to find the show. He points out that TBS is on different channels, depending on the cable system.

"I’m just a little worried because Americans, with their lack of ability at math, might be hard enough to find out a three-digit number," jokes Kutner.

The show is on TBS at 11 p.m. PST Pacific Time.

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