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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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Let's make one thing perfectly clear:

With the way Leno took THE TONIGHT SHOW from David Letterman in 1993, nothing that has happened to him since they announced he was leaving has been "undeserved."

He's feeling exactly what Johnny Carson and David Letterman felt way back when, no matter what happens.

1742 days ago


Jason/Daniel and other conspiracy par-annoyeds: do you really think NBC would hobble it's own prime time real estate and cause a drop of 2 million views for it's 10 news slots just to screw over the red head? By the way, two days ago we publicly offered Conan his old slot here at Hmmm. Maybe time to think over our offer.

1742 days ago


@carolinebcollier your the fool. Jay did nothing. Really if you think about it Jay is the one who wasn't a a55.

Poor Conan thinking of his Ego tried to force someone out of there job. Jay could have fought it more to start with but why bother its just Conan. Guy demands all this stuff with his Ego and forgot basics of contracting.. what a tool.

Conan couldn't even bring the rating he had in his old show. He sucks like letterman and now will run 4th if lucky.

1742 days ago


Jay Leno is one of the unfunniest 'comedians' ever. All he does is spit out facts - there's no innovation or creativity. His show is basically suited for the geriatric set. IMO, it's why his show failed - it just wasn't truly funny. Conan, on the other hand, is one of our brightest, most creative comic personalities in the business. A brilliant wit with an unbelievably sharp mind. If he leaves TV for good, it will never be the same. However, I don't think that will happen. I have a feeling he may go to Fox. I think this entire debacle says more about Jay than anything else. He could have bowed out gracefully. He was supposed to be RETIRED. Get it? Jay, just GO AWAY.

1742 days ago

Jill Kennedy    

Both Jeff Zucker and Jeff Gaspin have been an absolutely embarrassment throughout this entire process. That bizarre press conference that Jeff Gaspin had on Sunday was a clinic on how not to do something...

And Jeff Zucker should have taken on this issue head-on weeks ago but he, as well, is about as weak as they come...

1742 days ago

Smooth Criminals    

I don't agree that Jay should have just rolled over for O'Brien. O'Brien certainly didn't care what NBC did to Leno. It does seem to me that O'Brien is refusing to take any responsibility at all for his failure to keep the viewership of the Tonight show. Putting O'Brien into the Tonight Show slot was just as much as a gamble as putting Jay at 10. There's nothing that says O'Brien would have done better had NBC other prime time lead ins. Jay's prime time lead ins during his stint at the Tonight Show were not as good as Letterman or Nightline but Jay consistently beat both Letterman and NightLine in the ratings.

I don't think Jay ever had any say about who/what was his prime time lead in when he had the Tonight Show so why does O'Brien think he should? I really think this lead in excuse is overblown. After all people do have channel changers on there remotes. For instance, last night after watching American Idol, I pushed a button on my remote and watched Jay. If the only way O'Brien can get viewers is by people not changing channels and only watching NBC, what does that say about the quality of his show? Maybe Jay should complain about his lead ins and that lead in should complain about it's lead in and on and on back to the Today Show and put all the blame on Matt Lauer.

1742 days ago


Whay watch TV when you have the Internet...

1742 days ago


Poop on U!

1742 days ago


So millions of people are layed off/fired from their jobs daily. They are standing in soup lines.

So Conen is out of a job?? He walks away with $40,000,000!! He should be laughing all the way to the bank!

1742 days ago


Does any of this nonsense really matter? Who watches these TV programs? I have never seen either. No interest here at all. They don't pay me enough to watch. I have better things to do.

1742 days ago


NBC maybe in for the play. Jimmy Fallon show is fresh and has better humor. Just maybe, creating the problems for the 2 shows, makes it impossible to have either, so Fallon moves up to 11:35. Best thing ever to happen

1742 days ago


Conan sucks and what happened could be seen coming from day one. Nobody wants to watch Conan he sucks.

1742 days ago


Anyone on this board who says "Conan should cry all the way to the bank" are probably minimum-wage drones who never had a vision or a dream in their lives. Do you also say, "why is that baseball player crying over losing the World Series when he's rich?"

Sorry, McDonald's workers on TMZ, but when you've worked decades to fulfill your dream, only to lose it, that's terrible for anyone. The money doesn't matter when you've put your heart and soul and career and reputation into something only to see it publicly fall apart.

Now, if you ever strived for something big and lost it, maybe you'd know what that's like. But don't sit at the computer surfing TMZ while flipping burgers and tell us that all Conan should care about is the money.

1742 days ago


"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"

Its the tonight show which has always started at 11:35 for the last 50+ years, why would anyone expect that NBC would destroy the franchise by changing time slots. This writers a moron -- shocking, but true.

1742 days ago


1742 days ago
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