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Fox Gives Conan 'American Idol' Invite; NBC Says No

by Scott Harris, posted Mar 22nd 2010 10:30AM
After weeks of speculation following Conan O'Brien's abrupt and messy dismissal from 'The Tonight Show' by NBC, reports are emerging that Fox has officially offered O'Brien a role on its network. Not for his own talk show, though.

For 'American Idol.'

Yes, according to the Hollywood Reporter, the lanky redhead has been approached by Fox to appear on America's top-rated TV show.

Before you get your hopes up, though, this isn't the latest Ellen DeGeneres-style shock hire, and O'Brien won't be replacing Simon Cowell next season, either. In fact, even though the offer was simply to appear on 'Idol's' annual 'Idol Gives Back' charity special (airing April 21), O'Brien won't be appearing on 'Idol' at all. Why? Because NBC has refused to give O'Brien permission for the guest spot.After weeks of speculation following Conan O'Brien's abrupt and messy dismissal from 'The Tonight Show' by NBC, reports are emerging that Fox has officially offered O'Brien a role on its network. Not for his own talk show, though.

For 'American Idol.'

Yes, according to the Hollywood Reporter, the lanky redhead has been approached by Fox to appear on America's top-rated TV show.

Before you get your hopes up, though, this isn't the latest Ellen DeGeneres-style shock hire, and O'Brien won't be replacing Simon Cowell next season, either. In fact, even though the offer was simply to appear on 'Idol's' annual 'Idol Gives Back' charity special (airing April 21), O'Brien won't be appearing on 'Idol' at all. Why? Because NBC has refused to give O'Brien permission for the guest spot.

Of course, fans of O'Brien have been calling NBC heartless for months, but blocking the star from appearing on a charity event -- which the network is legally able to do thanks to the terms of the severance deal worked out with O'Brien during their contentious divorce -- seems a bit low even for them.

This is just the latest twist in the ongoing, cutthroat saga of late-night television. Despite being blocked from appearing on 'Idol,' O'Brien and Fox are still in negotiations for a potential return to the airwaves as soon as September, when the NBC-mandated national Conan blackout finally comes to an end. (Although he cannot host his own show until then, he will be allowed to start appearing in a guest capacity as early as May 1.)

Until that time, fans and rabid members of Team Coco will have to get their fix the old fashioned way, as O'Brien is set to begin his live 'Legally Prohibited From Being Funny on TV' comedy tour on April 12. And as the Hollywood Reporter points out, the tour could serve as a victory lap should O'Brien reach a deal with Fox, as it would allow him to meet with affiliates around the country, laying the groundwork for a successful challenge to arch-rival Jay Leno.

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How about Meredith Vieira. She's good TV eye candy and she's intelligent and she has some normality about her that would be kind of different for AI. Thought enough of her to be host for Academy Awards. Maybe make one spot be a celebrity fill in from week to week to add some variation.

August 12 2010 at 8:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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