Entertainment Law

‘Bye, everybody, bye!’: An End in Sight for the Conan-Leno-NBC Debacle?

conan o'brien.jpgFor the first time in a while, insomniacs are tuning into a late night show that doesn’t star Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert.
Everyone loves a good fight. The Jay Leno, Conan O’Brien, and NBC squabble may be more entertaining than Triumph the Insult Comic Dog. David Letterman and Jimmy Kimmel have both knocked Leno. Even J-Lo has thrown some punchlines.
The National Law Journal has reported on the lawyers that are part of the fray. Patty Glaser and Kevin Leichter, of Glaser, Weil, Fink, Jacobs, Howard & Shapiro, are in Conan O’Brien’s corner. Meanwhile, NBC has Gibson Dunn slugging away, having retained power partner Scott Edelman.
The fighters have been trying to figure out what the definition of “The Tonight Show” is — if moved to 12:05 a.m., wouldn’t it be the The Early Morning Show? — and who has ownership of O’Brien’s intellectual property. R.I.P., Masturbating Bear?
The contractual issues may be sorted out any second now, according to the Wall Street Journal….

According to the WSJ, the haggling is nearly over. Though the jokes shall probably be rehashed in many late night shows to come.
NBC is reportedly going to pay O’Brien $40 million to go away and not come back on another network until September:

The terms include the payout of roughly $40 million, which includes money for Mr. O’Brien’s staff, and a requirement of less than a year on the sidelines before he can appear on a competing network.
The deal, which is still being finalized, is likely to include a nondisparagement clause for Mr. O’Brien, who also will be prohibited from appearing on some other shows for a stretch, according to people familiar with the matter.

While NBC can’t be happy about shelling out $40 million and losing O’Brien, it can console itself with the ratings jump it’s getting this month.
Brian Baxter has more on the legal issues at AmLaw Daily. Additional Conan-related links are collected at the end of this post.
Less illuminating but certainly entertaining is this animated video from Taiwan, which transforms all the parties into superheros:

Parties to NBC ruckus lawyer up [National Law Journal]
NBC to Pay $40 Million to Show Conan O’Brien the Door [Wall Street Journal]
As Conan’s Time Ticks Down, It’s All About the Contract [AmLaw Daily]
Jennifer Lopez Mocks Conan, Leno and Letterman [US Magazine]
Conan O’Brien Will Triumph Over NBC [TMZ]
NBC to keep Coco’s masturbating bear [The Hollywood Reporter]
Legal Angles Abound as Conan-NBC Standoff Nears Endgame [AmLaw Daily]
Conan/Leno/NBC debacle animated by same Taiwanese news org that tackled Tiger Woods [Boing Boing]

(hidden for your protection)

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