The TV star quit NBC's The Tonight Show earlier this year and was barred from appearing on TV until September, by terms of his exit deal from NBC. He is now keen on regaining his popularity before the contemplated new talk show begins.
O'Brien will kick off a nationwide tour -- The Legally Prohibited From Being Funny on Television Tour -- on Monday in Eugene, Oregon. As part of the tour, O'Brien's former Tonight band and sidekick Andy Richter will join him to about 30 US and Canadian cities.
Media analysts say even if Fox succeeds in bringing him to host the show, ABC's Nightline, CBS's Late Show With David Letterman and Jay Leno's return to The Tonight Show on NBC, will provide tough competition.