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Conan's Royal Screw Up

1/13/2010 10:00 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF

Conan O'Brien may have a claim against NBC, but not because the network wanted to move his show to 12:05 AM.

We're now told Conan's contract never specified a guaranteed time period. If NBC wanted to run the show at 3:00 AM, Conan would have no recourse. We're told Conan's reps never even asked for a guaranteed time period when they negotiated his contract -- shocking, but true.

By contrast, we're told Jay Leno's deal specifically guarantees his 10:00 PM time period, so the network must negotiate a new deal with him before he moves back to 11:35 PM.

NBC did guarantee that Conan would host "The Tonight Show," and the network has been willing to make good on that promise.

As for Conan's legal position, his claim is a lot more tenuous than first reported to us. We're told Conan is arguing -- given the history of "The Tonight Show" -- there is an "implied" guarantee the show would begin at 11:35. Our sources say Conan's people met with NBC execs yesterday afternoon ... presumably to negotiate a settlement and an out.

Some of the high level people who oversee "The Tonight Show" are saying Conan has himself to blame -- at least in part -- for his failure. They say he refused to take notes from his bosses, saying "I do what I do."


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NBC is making a huge mistake if the let Conan go. He will go to another network and KILL NBC in ratings at whatever time slot he is in. NBC will be losing one of the funniest minds in comedy. I mean look at the guys resume - The Simpsons, Saturday Night Live, Late Night, and now The Tonight Show. But I guess Americans are stupid and want dumbed down humor like Leno. Well you got your wish, idiots.

1680 days ago


NBC is making a huge mistake by letting go of Conan, He is sooo funny! Forget Leno, he's an idiot.

1680 days ago


The tonight show used to be a 90 minute show. 11:30pm to 1:00am In the late 70's, Johnny renegotiated his contract. He got Monday's Off and the show went from 90minutes to 60. So! tonight,Tomorrow,Morning whatever. It's still the tonight show.

1680 days ago


NBC executives ought be sued first and then fired with no bonus. how did these clowns climb the corporate ladder?

1680 days ago


7 month are long over due to get rid of CONAN.



1680 days ago


The Tonight Show wasn't always 11:35-12:35. It used to be 11:30-1am. They shortened it from 90 min to 60 min by cutting the last half hour. So, it's not that big a change to go 60 min from 12-1am. The only difference from the original show formula is that now they are cutting the first 30 min instead of the last 30 min.

1680 days ago


CoCo is a very smart dude, very smart. I'd be shocked if he'd move his crew & families unless his contract was a lock.
Jay's a gearhead. His passion. He should have retooled the BBC's "Top Gear" and have some fun with his stable of collectibles.
Jay's in his element on "Jay's Garage".com. He knows his stuff and looks like he having a ball. Jay, give up the spotlight and change some spark plugs. Life's short.

1680 days ago


He doesn't listen to his bosses so this is all his fault?? If you know anything about network executives (i.e.: his "bosses") they know nothing about comedy or what the audience wants. Especially at NBC.

His numbers went down for several reasons: 1) the older viewers that used to watch Leno's Tonight Show moved to Dave because he's calmed down the crazy and is more cranky-funny. Conan has to share the young, hip crowd with Letterman, and winning them over takes time. 2) Leno's dismal ratings at 10pm meant people watched something else at ten, then watched that stations local news - not the NBC station's. No lead in = lousy ratings for Conan. Jay's show screwed up all of NBC's late night programming and now he gets a free pass back?

Jay needs to move on. His show was not good. It wasn't funny, and he promised it wouldn't be like the tonight show and it was almost exactly like the tonight show with differently ties segments. He's done. IF he gets the Tonight show back, I will not watch it.

Coco should stay on at 11:35. period.

1680 days ago


I laughed my butt off when I raed this last night on my iphone.

So Conan not only doesn't have etiquette hosting skills and adult humor but he doesn't even know how to make sure the important things are in his contract.


1680 days ago


leno's a jerk, a tool, a weasle, big chinned talentless old freak who has no business being on TV any longer. if leno had such faithful fans, then why the hell didn't they watch his craptastic show at 10pm? i'm no fan of letterman but leno screwed him over too, and now he's doing the same to coanan. conan will land on his feet and nbc will still #3 in ratings...hell i think fox outranks now, so what are they just above kcop?

1679 days ago


If you will all recall, Letterman was on NBC up until '93 and had conan's old time slot. when carson left, the tonight show was supposed to go to Letterman. That's what he had been verbally promised for years and it's what Carson wanted. People say conan is not funny but I think it's his time slot. He was hilarious in old shosw because it was on later and he could do these weird offbeat sketches. He had to bland it down for the tonight show and that's just not him. He had no audience when he first started on nbc and he built that up over 16 years. If you think about it, he may have negotiated a bad contract but nbc is acting dishonorably. The tonight show was dangled in front of conan for years to keep him at nbc. It is well known that he was promised the show when Leno's contract ended. problem is, Leno decided that he didn't want to leave and so he got to have a mini-tonight show before the evening news. Sandwiching the news in between the two shows was always a screwy idea. Leno is a jerk. He is incapable of passing the torch. Why he just didn't renew his tonight show contract for another few years I'll never figure know. But I think conan would be great at fox. They would be more open to offbeat sketches and he could be free of the execs who jerked him around at nbc. If he stays at nbc in any way other than an 1135 tonight show, he should just get "sucker" tattooed on his forehead. Letterman moved to cbs when nbc was trying to screw him over and it was an awesome move for him. NBC has history of making false promises to their late night talent. Conan will be fine at fox. It will be weird and maybe less $$$ but he will have freedom and dignity there but he will always be branded the guy who nbc screwed over if he stays and accepts a midnight show at nbc. I hope he is talking to Letterman and getting good advice about how to leave nbc. Leaving is the only way he can keep his dignity.

1679 days ago


Its called the tonight show. By pushing Conan to 12:05am this is a morning show so his contract should hold up in court. If he went on at 11:59 then it would be a different story.

1679 days ago


For sixty years, the Tonight" show has come on after the local news. Indeed, that is the whole CONCEPT of the "Tonight" show. It's supposed to be the show that comes on right after the local news. It has NEVER come on after ANOTHER late-night talk show. That is not it's CONCEPT and WOULD damage the franchise.

1679 days ago


"Conan's humor is way too contrived."

Yeah, I hate contrived humor. You know what Conan should do? He should bring people in off the street and ask them questions. And here's where it gets good. They'll answer the questions incorrectly! Get it? Because they're stupid. Isn't that hilarious?

1679 days ago


What do you mean Conan is screwed? Everyone knows The Tonight Show is on at 11:30 pm. What planet have you been on TMZ? Why would he have had to have a guarantted time slot clause? Conan obviously thought NBC would act in good faith? I guess he forgot about the Lettemran debacle. He has a good case and if Conan has good lawyers he will come out richer and have more support than ever. As for Leno, he deserves to be vilified online, on TV, in the neswpaper and whereever social media is concerned. He is not the nice guy everyone says he is. He is looking out for himself and only himself. Well what comes around goes around and I have a feeling the Tonight Show is gonna go down with Leno himself at the helm and he has no one to blame but himself. I guarantee it!

1679 days ago
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