Conan’s lawyer: This year ‘was a real learning experience’

Leigh Speaking on a panel of industry execs Wednesday afternoon, Conan O’Brien’s lawyer, Leigh Brecheen (right), called host’s whole turn of events this year “a real learning experience to us.”

Brecheen, on stage at the Hollywood Radio and TV Society’s “State of the Industry” luncheon, said Team Coco was still haggling with NBC as recently as the launch of O’Brien’s concert tour. 

Apparently NBC wasn’t keen on allowing O’Brien to advertise his “The Legally Prohibited from Being Funny on Television” tour.

“It turns out it sold out in one day,” said Brecheen, rendering an ad campaign unnecessary.

Conan Brecheen said Team Coco did indeed initially think a deal with Fox was a slam dunk — but then slowly the reality of Fox’s commitments in late night made it impossible.

“We were concerned about the level of fight” needed to made a deal work, she said. The first-run syndication world, meanwhile, was also a possibility — it’s been widely reported that a pitch by CBS TV Distribution was seriously considered by Team Coco.

“First-run syndication would have been an interesting way to go, and perhaps for Conan, more profitable,” Brecheen said.

Ultimately, however, Turner was “very aggressive,” she said.

“We decided his audience would find him anywhere,” she added. 

TBS has made a “tremendous commitment to comedy,” Brecheen said. The cabler offered “aggressive financial resources and aggressive commitment to the future.”

Fox Entertainment prexy Kevin Reilly then piped in with a reality check: O’Brien’s ratings won’t likely crack a 1.0 rating at TBS, he said. 

“The decimal will be on the left side of the number, not the right side,” Reilly said. “I worked in cable. The decimal will be on the left.”

Reilly said that wasn’t a knock against O’Brien — he’s a fan, and would have loved to land the comedian at Fox. 

But at Fox, “there would have been an enormous amount of pressure that the decimal was on the right side,” Reilly said.

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  1. I wish Leigh Brecheen had brought their fight to its success. What do you is the problem with the “The Legally Prohibited from Being Funny on Television” tour?

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