Reruns of Seinfeld Could Prevent Conan From Signing With Fox

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Before Conan O'Brien starts his 30-city nationwide tour tomorrow night in Eugene, Oregon, he better plan on giving a big hello to Mark Metzger. Who's that? Well Metzger is the general manager and vice president of Eugene's Fox affiliate, KLSR, and he's just one of the people that could prevent Conan from becoming a late night television fixture once again.

According to The Live Feed, talks between Fox and O'Brien's representation have progressed quite far over the last few days, with the would-be host having agreed to take a lesser salary and work within a smaller show budget. In return, Fox would put Conan on at 11 p.m. each night, giving him a 35-minute jump on David Letterman and Jay Leno. Sounds good, right? Not to the network affiliates.

The Fox affiliates are holding things up because of costly and already in place syndication deals. In short: Conan will cost them money. And lest you think affiliates aren't important to the networks, remember that part of the reason why O'Brien is even out of a job is because the NBC affiliates nearly revolted because of The Jay Leno Show.

For his part, Conan won't sign with Fox unless the network can guarantee that his show will be seen all over the country. So, stalemate.

As they say, stay tuned...

· Conan-Fox deal update: Progress threatened by affiliate gripes [THR/The Live Feed]



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