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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."

207 COMMENTS

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46.

hehe    

how was the conan camp supposed to foresee jay going back on his word and causing all this trouble, to specify time period in the first place? JAY THE SNEAKY @SSHOLE stikes again

1640 days ago
47.

Jeff    

Jeff says:
January 12, 2010 at 6:31 pm
Here’s a great solution for the issue: Schedule Jay at 11:35 PM on the “Tonight Show” to appeal to grownups and let O’Brian take his “show” to Nickalodeon to meet the needs for their audience of people with an 8 year olds mentality….. Problem solved!

Reply

1640 days ago
48.

pie    

Geez: "Conan did what he did because he's been a comedy writer and successful late night show host for almost 20 years numbnuts." - If it was 20 years of comedy growth, instead of the same stupid jokes, and skits with no growth, and no direction, then there maybe some truth to 20 years of experience that the audience could have a reason to laugh, instead of crying about contracts between leno, and conan. - Kathy Griffin at least has the D list comedy, while conon has been E, and F list for the last 20 years.

1640 days ago
49.

cranky21    

The right lawyer could argue both NBC and Leno to the ground on this, placement-precedent alone. That said, though...

Leno is well-known as a fabricator, an embellisher, and the epitome of uncool, both in the approach of his alleged humour and in his interpersonal relations. What kind of a lameass show host sends the legal team out to apprehend an irreverent early guest who sets fire to the Tonight Show set and, in the process, lobs him a golden guarantee of favourable attention from the right demographic – which Leno immediately pisses away? Sure, Bobcat Goldthwait may not be a millionaire and may still be roadblocked by executives everywhere, but he's got genuine credibility Jay probably never had.

The Tonight Show was tarnished the moment Jay took it over, the Helen Kushnick debacle aside. And did any of you see his 10 p.m. show? "Cringeworthy" is putting it mildly.

Conan has just been a misfire on Tonight. He doesn't belong in California, and he may not belong at 11.30. At this point, Tonight doesn't even belong on-air anywhere.

Same goes for NBC. Never been classy.

1640 days ago
50.

JohnDrake6    

Jay, stop posting comments here and get some sleep. You're going to need it if you expect to backstab your way back to the top.

(You and I both remember that you weren't an immediate success on the show either, you sneaky bastard.)

1640 days ago
51.

jt    

Wow, it looks like TMZ is really getting spun hard by NBC. There is not a chance that Conan loses this thing if it goes to court. NBC is just trying to generate some publicity pressure so they can negotiate down their inevitable settlement payment to Conan. Look for NBC to eat a big sh*t sandwich on this one, though.

1640 days ago
52.

Louie_Kapoohy    

WHO EFFEN CARES!!!!!!!! DAVID LETTERMEN!!!
LONG LIVE THE KING OF KNIGHT AT 1135/1035(EST)CBS!

1640 days ago
53.

Mary    

Conan is awesome... ive been watching him since the 90s... and he alway kept me laughing... jay leno is a freaking nasty old tool that needs to leave nbc... he doesnt even know anything about comedy.. or being a comedian...the only thing he knows is to flirt with young girls with his creepy ass freaking chin. I hope everything will be resolved for conan and his staff, because the only thing ruining late night are the executives... dont blame the comedian when the execs make the rules.

P.S
WHERE-EVER CONAN GOES HIS FANS WILL GO...AND NBC WILL LOSE THERE RATINGS...COS THE ONLY REASON PEOPLE STAY TUNED FOR JIMMY AND CARSON IS BECAUSE OF CONAN.

1640 days ago
54.

JanisK    

Thanks to Jay's great performance at 10pm, the local news lost over 2 million lead-in viewers who were too lazy to change the channel, thus Conan did NOT have the advantage of a decent lead-in which the Chin had when he hosted the Tonight Show. Then the geniuses NBC only gave Conan 7 months to make up the difference.

NBC= Nothing But Cluelessness

I'm with Team Conan on this one.

1640 days ago
55.

Aileen    

Team Conan!

1640 days ago
56.

Freelols.com    

Sounds like it's "time" for Conan to wake and smell the coffee, and not just cause The Tonight Show's on at 3am.

1640 days ago
57.

pppppppppppppppppppppppppp    

David Letterman should be cancelled he looks like and is a creepy old letch !!! We don't hear about his little boy anymore used to make him look like the great guy he isn't. Do we. Or his second chance to to become a wonderful guy after his heart attack... Parading the doctors and nurses on..."He gets by with murder".Get rid of him.Then Jay is a seemingly nice guy however he looks tired however at least he's not a misogynist...I think he should just get a big concert type stand-up show in Las Vegas he could do basically the same show and he likes to perform live...As far as Conan he is a well educated nice man.Mannerly and able to be edgy but intelligent.And Jimmie Fallon is doing a great job. Conan and Jimmie are a much better fit.Younger and over the long hall they will rule late night.Let Carson Daily end the evening. NBC "WAKE-UP" don't let go of Conan or Jimmie.You will definitely regret another colossal "blunder".It took more then a few months for every late night show to settle in.Think about it. Even Johnny Carson and it worked out pretty well for NBC.

1640 days ago
58.

shirorx    

take notes from the execs? the last people who should be giving out tv advice are nbc executives.

1640 days ago
59.

ej    

Breaking news on the whole story -
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T82Ot04aqNw

1640 days ago
60.

cranky21    

Regarding Jay: Can someone so asexual even have a passing chance at being a misogynist? Or a letch? Or a nice guy? Or a fully functional human being?

Oh, and I tried to give Fallon another chance tonight. Pathetic, as he has been career-long. He still looks sweaty and nervous, as if he's about to crack and cry under the pressure. And, though The Roots are a great band, that "freestylin'" routine is too lame for access cable, never mind a fourth-place nationwide network.

1640 days ago
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