NBC Accuses Conan of Lying to 60 Minutes, Inadvertently Paints Themselves as Heartless


Last Sunday, Conan O'Brien used his first contractually-permitted television interview in months to relive his traumatic Tonight Show shakedown. Scarred, Coco did his best to not badmouth NBC or Jay Leno outright, instead using phrases like "I would not have done that if positions were reversed." In fact, the comedian only really lobbed two accusations NBC's way, allowing the rest of his heartbreak to go unspoken -- er, spoken by his wife Liza. Unsatisfied, NBC sources placed an anonymous call this morning to clear up a few lingering issues.

If you recall on Sunday, Conan O'Brien actually gave NBC some credit, acknowledging that their decision to let Conan go -- as opposed to Leno, who was rumored to have required a $150 million buyout -- was the smarter business move. For some reason, anonymous NBC sources felt the need to refute this claim -- a claim that rationalized their motives -- by revealing that "the buyouts for Conan and Jay were roughly the same."

The sources also addressed Conan's belief that his Tonight Show could not possibly have lost money for NBC. According to the sources, though:

...the show would not only have lost more than $5 million this year had they kept Conan on, but the loss was specifically discussed with Conan -- "They were well-informed of that fact," said one source.

Shouldn't a network go on record if they legitimately want to defend their multi-million dollar business decisions?

· NBC to Conan O'Brien: Pants on Fire! [TMZ]


  • Calvin says:

    NBC is coming off as the pathetic loser here.. just trying to get the "last word." Conan (Coco) is a true Pro and I can't wait for his new show. My DVR deosn't care what channel its on and neither do I.

  • Chris says:

    Conan is the man! I'm sorry, but he is BY FAR funnier than any of the late night people in my opinion. Jay is ok, but in my honest opinion, he's no Conan. Conan's style appealed to the younger, more hip crowd. I guess there just aren't that many of us young people watching late night television. Don't worry Conan, when your new show hits the airwaves, I'll definitely be watching!

  • LAkawak says:

    Chris.but enough young people are watching Leno, since he is getting better ratings in ALL democrographics than Conan did.

  • Mace Moneta says:

    If it weren't for Chuck, there'd be no reason to watch NBC again. Perhaps they'll decide to cancel it too. I'm sure it will be picked up elsewhere if that happens. They seem to have a problem telling good content from bad, and contractually boxing themselves into a corner.

  • Angry Monkey With Banana says:

    Conan was very professional to his entire staff who moved across country to support him when NBC decided to pull the plug. He paid them out of his pocket to be fair so in my opinion, NBC is full of it. I became a fan and watched every episode toward the end and really got to know Conan and he truly is a very funny comedian and I enjoyed his show immensely!
    I never really liked jay leno, and this incident made me actually dislike him. He may have a following, but I'm sure many people moved on after this situation. I will also support Conan when his new show arrives, so "SUCK IT NBC"!

  • Jo Dean says:

    Doesnt make much sense to me dude, seriously.

  • Yodamite says:

    LAkawak, have you been paying attention to Leno's ratings lately? They are not better than Conan's were.

  • Nick says:

    Conan is better than Jay period. Jay has old tired family humor. His jokes are flat. And no where near as sharp as Conan. The 50 and older crowd can keep Jay. Bring on Conan.

  • Autocomment says:

    Of course Leno is getting better demos than Conan- Leno's Tonight Show doesn't have Leno's 10pm crapfest bringing down the ratings for the local news and the Tonight Show!

  • Just saying . . says:

    So, it's okay that Conan forced Jay's retirement five years previous? Remember when he was going to leave the network if they didn't give him the Tonight Show at some point in the future?
    So, Conan can do it to Jay- (Let's face it, Jay had the ratings.) . . but Jay cannot do it to Conan who was a proven failure?

  • Andrew says:

    Jay had the bigger contract -- there's no lie there. NBC only cares about spending the smallest amount possible in this situation... and 30+ million dollars was a lot smaller than whatever they would have to pay Jay. (150 million dollars?) For NBC to refute this... is just a joke.

  • Mark says:

    NBC dropped the ball the day they gave Leno's Tonight Show an end date. He was #1 and didn't want to leave the gig. Jeff Zucker should be fired for starting this whole fiasco.

  • Scot says:

    I'm surprised that 60 Minutes viewers even know who Conan is, don't they think Johnny Carson is still host?

  • Yodamite says:

    "Just saying", your argument is illogical on a couple of points. First, Leno didn't have to agree on anything, yet he did. But then, he went back on his word. Also, the catalyst for NBC's cancellation of the Jay Leno Show was that it was a failure, and it was losing money for the affiliates.
    I have questions for these anonymous NBC sources:
    If this is all about ratings, why isn't Jay Leno being fired for the extremely low ratings he's getting now?
    If this is all about ratings, why didn't NBC respond to Conan's astronomical ratings boost toward the end of his run? Some other shows have been saved by write-in campaigns, even without a ratings increase. But in Conan's case, not only were the fans vocal about keeping on the air, but they backed it up by watching in huge numbers.
    Your arguments aren't making any sense.

  • SearchCz says:

    NBC, like any big corporation, likely counts any reduction in anticipated profits as "losing money". IIf they're expecting to make 200 million off of the Tonight Show in 2009, but actually only make 195 million ... they might refer to that as a 5 million dollar loss.

  • James says:

    Yeah, this isn't true at all. Check TVByTheNumbers, Leno's ratings are already back to the level Conan's were at when he was canceled. Sometimes lower.
    It was true for a short amount of time, but he was just riding high on the Olympics and his "return" to drive bigger numbers.

  • joeroeyo says:

    If you think Leno is funny, your sense of humor is too bland and boring to recognize a legitimately funny joke in the first place. The only thing funny about Leno is his comically squeaky voice.

  • charlie says:

    Coco!? when did that nickname start happening and why the fuck does every celebrity need a journalism nick-name? It's fucking retarded. Coco sounds nothing like Conan and has the same amount of syllables! Madonna has to be "madge", Michael Jackson has to be Jacko!. The whole thing is really retarded. These journalists are just dying to come up with the new cool nickname for some celeb. Lame.

  • Why would they deny the buyout as a factor in the decision? It makes perfect sense to say "we're a corporation with a responsibility to our shareholders and sometimes we have to make tough decisions for the bottom line."

  • Eru says:

    Conan is a true professional indeed. I love him for his work, and now his attitude too. Eagerly waiting for his new show. He is the best. NBC surfaces as a big time loser here.

  • They'd be better off letting people believe it, fans of Conan can understand making a smart business decision and give NBC some slack - taking that away by saying it was 'roughly the same' now brings it back to 'NBC hates Conan' and they lose any sympathy they had from his fans.

  • Late Night shows aren't like the scripted stuff... the production costs have to be met by the advertising running during the show or they have to write off that show.

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