Weigh In on the Conan O'Brien Controversy: Chapter 16, the Tony Awards


Another week, another televised opportunity for Conan O'Brien that his $40 million exit contract from NBC prohibits. This time, the Conan-event that could have been is the 2010 Tony Awards. CBS reportedly approached the patron saint of screwed Tonight Show personalities to host and Coco was forced to graciously decline, citing contractual obligations to his former employer. Only now, NBC is responding to the claims, saying it was your darling Coco who did not want to host the June 13 ceremony.

Shortly after Deadline first reported that NBC was robbing Coco Nation of another televised Conan appearance, a peacock insider swung back, inciting an ugly back-and-forth with Camp Coco that waged on until early Monday morning:

UPDATE: Oh, this is interesting. "Team NBC" sources tell me tonight that Conan's severance deal with NBC doesn't prohibit him from making TV appearances after May 1, "so he totally could have hosted the Tony's. More likely, he didn't want to do it, and used his agreement with NBC as an excuse to say no to Les."

2ND UPDATE: To which "Team Conan" sources reply to me: "He can do interviews but can't perform. He also can't speak freely about NBC, which kind of kills his doing things in the way he'd want."

3RD UPDATE: Now "Team NBC" sources tell me: "The severance agreement gives Conan the explicit right to do hosting gigs after May 1, so its B.S. that he 'can't perform'. And if he wanted to 'speak freely about NBC', he shouldn't have accepted NBC's over $40 mill payoff."

4TH UPDATE: Late tonight, "Team Coco" sources added this about "Team NBC": "I am of the understanding that he can't do that kind of thing until September. And you should ask what they are afraid of his saying that they have to gag him anyway? Seems like a lot to spend to keep someone quiet, if that is their intent. If he did the Tony's and didn't make jokes about the situation, it would be lame. He won't take any job if he doesn't think he'll be great."

Conan is two weeks away from launching his 30-City Legally Prohibited From Being Funny on Television Tour. The last stop scheduled is June 14 in Atlanta -- the previous night (the date of the Tony Awards) is left blank.

So who do you think is at fault for a Conanless Tonys? Could the show have even been entertaining if its host was gagged on certain subjects?

· CBS Offered Tony Hosting Gig To Conan [DHD]


  • sweetbiscuit says:

    I love Coco, but having him host the Tonys is a weird idea. It's not a good fit. (See Letterman/Oscars.) And gag-order or no, surely he's not going to depend on NBC-bashing humor forever, right?