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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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All you have to do is go back and read Conan's letter to find the real root of problem here. In his dillusional mind, he actually thinks he's in the same category as Johnny Carson.

1711 days ago

excretive producer    

I hope Jimmy Fallon's taking notes.

1711 days ago


Conan, just get your own show where you can let loose and not have to worry about appeasing anything. we support you!


1711 days ago



1711 days ago


This was always going to fail. All they did was shift the timeslot to begin with. It's always been Leno, followed by Conan. The only way it was ever gonna work was with Leno retiring like he was supposed to and passed the baton on. Poor Conan never had a chance.

1711 days ago


Like if Good Morning America were to move to the afternoon, it would no longer be the same thing. The Tomorrow Show comment is funny!

1711 days ago


Conan is awesome and any and all of you saying otherwise should be rounded up and shot. Only a moron could miss out on Conan's genius. Leno however needs to retire and make sure we never see his giant chin on TV again.

1711 days ago


How well would Jay have done if Johnny Carson stayed behind to do the lead in for the Tonight Show? NOT WEll, Folks! Jay enjoyed his run, because his predecessor had integrity and class. Unlike Jay. He should have stepped down and let Conan "do what he does" with NBC's full support. If Jay doesn't do the right thing now... he is a jerk. NBC should be ashamed of themselves. I won't even pass the channel if they follow through with this blunder.

1711 days ago


TMZ please stay on top of this one as much as the Jackson death! I AGREE with everything He Hate ME or whatever has said. And for those saying Conan LOST viewers you need to realize its only been 7 months! ratings build over time. Can a baby drive a car if you give it one!?

Conan go to FOX and seriously have it YOUR way! You deserve it!

1711 days ago


Conan didn't lose viewers... NBC did. They were the ones that came up with that stupid line up. No one wants to be locked down for over 3 hours watching late night talk shows. We work everyday. The Tonight Show and the Late Night Show were what we needed to wind down... We didn't want to have a bedtime-talk-show marathon every night.

We, the audience, get out of work everyday at 5pm-6pm. We grab dinner and try to salvage what we have left of the day for daily errands. Some of us have families and have to help the kids with homework and tuck them to bed. Then, we get things ready for work the next day. When we lay down and flip the TV on, we want to see the news and a little bit of comedy before/while we fall asleep so we don't wake up the next day planning to kill everyone in the office.

Leno should've retired like a gentleman. Actually, he should've done a day-time or early-evening car show. Conan wasn't given the proper chance that Leno had when Carson retired. NBC is to blame for all of this...

oh, and...


1711 days ago


Personally, like I told NBC in an email to them recently, I'd prefer that Jay Leno go back to hosting the original time slot for The Tonight Show. I never liked Conan, never watched any of his previous shows, and stopped watching the Tonight Show when he took over. GET JAY BACK to where he belongs, on the Tonight Show, and in the same time slot, same time length, etc...

1711 days ago


Conan is brilliant and NBC is making a huge mistake treating him with such disrespect. Jay Leno is not funny, or fresh, or quirky, or anything interesting!

1711 days ago

cheap cologne    

Conan ROCKS! Jay can sick a duck.

1711 days ago


Like Saturday night live show, no one personality should overtake the format of the show. Conan's sophomoric humor never caught on with the audience. If NBC had rules similar to SNL structure not changing the formula for the tonight show, Conan would have a chance of surviving on the tonight show. I don't think it's about the contract. If the ratings tanked, and conon had the tightest contract in the world, NBC would still find a way to fire Conan, and not broadcast the tonight show. Greed on Leno's part sunk Conan, by eating away at his audience, and Conan himself did not listen to NBC to keep the format of the tonight show tradition alive. - Maybe it's time to release Conan, and Leno from the tonight show, and start over. Johnny Carson left a great formula for late night television audiences, and Leno, and Conan damaged Carson's baby instead of letting out the dirty bath water.

1711 days ago


TMZ staff - its not Conan's failure, its NBC's. No one I think would
of imagined NBC would actually MOVE the show around since its been at
that time roughly 60 years!

TMZ staff - you are leaning back too much in your chairs sipping
soda's and growing goeties and facial hair too much, and talking
serious head for lack of a worse word not allowed in these lame
comment boxes.

Conan did what he did because he's been a comedy writer and successful late night show host for almost 20 years numbnuts.

1711 days ago
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