NBC appears ready to let bygones be bygones — and not put up a fight if Conan O’Brien wants to bring some his “Late Night” and “Tonight Show” bits to his new Turner talker.
That would be a big coup for O’Brien, whose famous late night segments — everything from “The Year 2000” to Pimpbot to “Twitter Tracker” — are technically the intellectual property of NBC.
Asked if NBC would block O’Brien from taking those features to Turner, NBC Universal TV Entertainment chairman Jeff Gaspin said those conversations haven’t taken place yet.
But he also said that NBC is ready to move on from the past and “wishes Conan well.” Gaspin also pointed out that Team Coco asked NBC for permission this summer to use Triumph the Insult Comic Dog in O’Brien’s “Prohibited From Being Funny On Television Tour,” and the Peacock said yes.
NBC is likely not interested in creating new headlines by barring O’Brien from using those bits — and has no use for the Masturbating Bear anymore, anyway.
That’s a marked change from how NBC handled David Letterman’s departure in 1993. In that case, the Peacock put up a fuss and prevented Letterman from bringing some of his bits over. Letterman simply changed the name of some of his features:”Viewer Mail” became the “CBS Mailbag,” while “Larry ‘Bud’ Melman” started using his real name, Calvert DeForest.
NBC, of course, can’t get rid of O’Brien so easily. O’Brien’s Conaco shingle is producing the network’s Friday night drama “Outlaw,” for starters. And O’Brien will be seen on NBC’s Emmycast next month as a nominee — or even winner — for “The Tonight Show.”