Tags: Hirsen | Leno | Conan | late | night

Conan to Flip From NBC to Fox?

Monday, 11 Jan 2010 10:11 AM

By James Hirsen

  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink
The Fox network is apparently pouring cold water on NBC’s plans to keep Jay Leno, Conan O'Brien and Jimmy Fallon on its late night slate.

Fox execs have leaked to media sources that the network would be interested in a Conan-led late night franchise.

A Fox source indicated that there was interest in O'Brien but acknowledged a legal impediment, that being O’Brien’s contract with NBC.

NBC and O'Brien continue in their efforts to, in essence, renegotiate O’Brien’s deal.

And entertainment contracts are notorious for not necessarily being ironclad.

A major late night offering would make sense for Fox.

The network recently launched “The Wanda Sykes Show,” a late Saturday night program, and may want to enter the weeknight fray with a similarly boundary pushing personality.

Fox's agreement with affiliate stations gives the network the right to program a national late night talk show.

O'Brien may want to make the jump to Fox for an earlier timeslot instead of settling for the after-midnight NBC demotion that’s being bandied around. As an added bonus, the network's younger audience may appreciate Conan's edgier humor.

We just may see a late night battle with O'Brien and Leno going head to chin.

That is, of course, unless Simon Cowell decides he wants to try his hand as a late night curmudgeon.

In the meantime, Leno’s 10 p.m. show has been canceled.

But plans at NBC to push back Leno and O'Brien’s program airings have lawyers mulling over the contracts of both late night hosts.

O'Brien's contract is of particular importance since his show would reportedly be bumped to a less desirable post-midnight slot. NBC execs indicated that they planned to move Leno back to 11:35 p.m., shoving O’Brien back a half-hour to 12:05 a.m.

Why the schedule shuffling?

The ratings have plummeted since September when NBC began the prime-time version of Leno’s former late-night show. Leno’s prime-time program has averaged only about five million viewers a night.

The affiliate station managers have blamed consistently low lead-in audiences for the decline in their news ratings and local stations rely on news programs for the majority of their revenue.

NBC affiliates are scheduled to meet with the network on Jan. 21, and the meeting was bound to get nasty.

To say the Leno experiment was a disaster is an understatement. It almost destroyed the “Tonight Show” franchise, embarrassed Leno and attempted to demote O’Brien.

Meanwhile, O’Brien’s reps quietly let it be known that he hasn’t accepted NBC’s plan, and it’s unlikely that he will agree to it any time soon.

Howard Kurtz of the Washington Post tweeted that the Conan move would avoid an expensive breach of contract because he would still be hosting a program with the name “The Tonight Show.”

The beleaguered NBC network can in no way afford mistakes or lawsuits at this time.

With two of the network’s mega stars in a holding pattern, the business and legal stakes are nothing short of humungous.

James Hirsen, J.D., M.A. in media psychology, is a New York Times best-selling author, commentator, media analyst and law professor. He is admitted to practice in the U.S. Supreme Court and has made several appearances there on various landmark decisions. Hirsen is the co-founder and Chief Legal Counsel for InternationalEsq.com, a legal think tank and educational institute for the study of law in the media.

Newsmax TV Hollywood

© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
Retype Email:
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

Hollywood's Political Correctness Steeped in Groupthink

Tuesday, 02 Sep 2014 14:14 PM

Enforcement of a politically correct rubric has become, in essence, a war on various aspects of free expression includin . . .

Hollywood Uneasy Over Sagging Summer Numbers

Monday, 25 Aug 2014 09:59 AM

Despite some surprising blockbuster hits, the summer box-office numbers still have the movie studios concerned. . . .

Celebrities Fund Midterm Elections for Democrats

Monday, 18 Aug 2014 09:34 AM

Hollywood is one of the primary places on which Democrat candidates rely to garner endorsements, organize fundraisers, a . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, NewsmaxWorld, NewsmaxHealth, are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved