NBC Universal has dropped plans to request a preliminary injunction against Pat O’Brien, but it’s still moving forward with a suit against the former “Access Hollywood” host.
Peacock had requested a July 23 court hearing to keep O’Brien from promoting his upcoming Paramount syndie strip “The Insider”; it’s now been taken off the docket.
Move reps another victory of sorts for Par, following last week’s ruling by a Los Angeles Superior Court judge denying NBC U’s motion to slap a temporary restraining order on O’Brien.
In a statement, NBC U said it dropped the preliminary injunction attempt after attorney Patty Glaser, who’s handling the case for Par, said O’Brien wouldn’t be participating in any more publicity for the show until the end of August (when his contract with “Access” expires).
NBC U has strong reason to believe that claim: O’Brien will spend much of August in Athens, covering the Summer Olympics for its own NBC Sports. That led Glaser last week to openly speculate why NBC U would need an injunction at all.
Peacock also may have decided that a court battle on Friday, no matter the outcome, would — ironically — help to promote O’Brien’s new “Insider” gig by generating another round of news stories.
“We decided that it was not necessary to pursue a preliminary injunction,” NBC U said in a statement. “We are, however, continuing with our lawsuit and believe strongly that once all of the facts come out, we will prevail.”
NBC U is seeking unspecified monetary damages, arguing that by talking to the press as well as meeting publicly with producers about the show, O’Brien was in breach of his “Access Hollywood” contract.
Free of any restraining order, O’Brien on Monday attended CBS’ portion of the television critics summer press tour to talk about “The Insider.”
O’Brien joked that while he brought an entourage with him, “The bad news is most of them are lawyers.”
Although constrained in what he could say about the lawsuit, O’Brien did say it’s “odd to me” that NBC Sports would continue with plans to feature him in its Olympics coverage in August while another part of the company is suing him.
“On one side they were patting me on the back, and on the other side they’re slapping this lawsuit against me,” he said.
O’Brien also expressed regret over a nasty so-long email he wrote to “Access Hollywood” anchor Shaun Robinson in which he called her “pathetic” and wished her “a miserable life.” The screed quickly found its way into the tabloids.
“Think before you push ‘send,’ ” he said.
(Brian Lowry contributed to this report.)