Is Fox Trying to Capture Conan?
NBC late-night fixture Conan O'Brien, host of that network's "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" for the past nine years, has been the subject of wooing by a rival network, reports The New York Times. Executives at NBC confirmed to the paper that they are aware that representatives of the Fox TV network have approached the host, 38, yet NBC also expressed confidence that he will renew his contract once it expires this August. No offers have been made by Fox, states The Times, quoting executives at both networks, and as it is, O'Brien is contractually bound by NBC not to enter discussions about leaving until March 15, at the earliest. The Times noted that the Fox network has never had a successful late-night program. Furthermore, according to The Times's analysis, a new O'Brien show on Fox would have to start at 11 p.m., immediately after local news programming, rather than after Fox prime time shows, which could give O'Brien the built-in young audience that he requires. Still, The Times also notes, NBC did bungle its contract renegotiations with its one-time "Late Night" star, David Letterman, who in 1993 ended up jumping ship and going to CBS. (That paved the way for O'Brien on "Late Night.") Then, too, O'Brien only recently became a favorite child of the network, thanks to increased ratings and positive reviews. The host may get back at NBC for only offering him short-term contract in the past, postulates The Times.
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