It’s like the old showbiz truism goes: Anyone can make it in the big-money world of podcasting, provided they’ve got a little talent, a lot of grit, and also international name recognition and several beloved TV shows under their belt. Which is to say that Variety reports today that Conan O’Brien has just sold his Team Coco podcasting brand to Sirius XM, reportedly for roughly $150 million.
That brand will include O’Brien’s flagship podcast, Conan O’Brien Needs A Friend—your one-stop shop for all the best conceptual Paul Rudd podcasting pranks—plus potential new Sirius shows produced by the Team Coco crew, all of whom will apparently make their way over in the wake of the sale.
O’Brien himself issued a statement about the acquisition, doing that thing where he makes picking up $150 million still sound like some sort of self-deprecating humiliation, as is his wont: “When I started in television my ultimate goal was to work my way up to radio.” O’Brien added, more sincerely, “This new deal with SiriusXM builds on the great relationship that began several years ago with a team that is the standout in their field.”
The Team Coco brand came to prominence as O’Brien made the transition from the debacle surrounding his truncated tenure on NBC’s Tonight Show to TBS; it’s hard to blame O’Brien for building an independent apparatus around his brand, show, and staffers after the way he got treated by NBC, and the results have been pretty huge: Conan O’Brien Needs A Friend has regularly been a top podcast on Apple Podcasts, and has featured such major guest gets as Bob Newhart, Stephen Colbert, and Barack and Michell Obama.
Sirius has made a few different moves into the podcast acquisition world in recent years; most notably, the satellite radio company acquired comedy podcasting brand Earwolf—which also co-developed Needs A Friend—in 2020 as part of a larger deal that reportedly cost $325 million.