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September 4, 2015

If Conan Wins an Emmy, Here's What He Can Say

by Kim Potts, posted Aug 26th 2010 9:45AM
Conan O'BrienConan O'Brien's short-lived version of the 'Tonight Show' may have died a very well-publicized death, but the show may very well win the Emmy Award for outstanding variety, music or comedy series. If it does, what will Coco say in his acceptance speech?

Or, more pertinently, what can Coco say in his acceptance speech?

With his old NBC bosses sitting in the Nokia Theater, and the strained, to say the least, ending of O'Brien's relationship with the network in the not-so-distant past, viewers might be hoping that a Coco win will bring an acceptance speech filled with more clever jabs at his former home network.

I'd bet he got most of it out of his system in the final 'Tonight Show' episodes he hosted last January, which included plenty of jokes at NBC's expense. Or in the post-'Tonight' interview he gave in May with '60 Minutes' correspondent Steve Kroft. Or during the 30-city "Legally Prohibited from Being Funny on Television Tour" he embarked on while waiting to host his new TBS late-night show in November.

But, should the funny guy wish to drop a few reminders about the network that's done him wrong, well, he can. Sort of.

O'Brien's $45 million exit package from NBC included not only the stipulation that he couldn't host another show until after Sept. 1, but also that he could not make disparaging remarks about his old bosses until after Sept. 1. The Emmys are on Aug. 29 ... so close!

Specifically, according to The Hollywood Reporter, O'Brien can't make comments that are "'false' and would be viewed by a reasonable person to be 'insulting or defamatory.'" But he still has plenty of fodder should he decide not to take the high road if he wins.

"He can still have a field day," attorney Pierce O'Donnell, who isn't involved in the O'Brien/NBC matter, tells THR. "He can make fun of NBC's ratings, its shows, as long as he's not saying anything false."

The non-disparagement clause works both ways, of course, meaning network execs can't slam O'Brien until after Sept. 1, though the clause was most likely included, the thinking goes, so that O'Brien would have a defined cutoff for when he could and couldn't make certain remarks -- meaning he's free to say what he wants when he debuts his still-untitled TBS talk show on Nov. 8.

Of course, as THR points out, NBC could have the final word on Emmy night ... or, rather, the final bleep. If Coco makes some no-no remarks, the Emmy telecast-hosting network can simply hit the censor button.

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Tony DIMeo

This is just one more reason why the EMMYS should always be in September because if it was he could make all the jokes about NBC's stupidity he wants. But either way I'm rooting for him

August 26 2010 at 2:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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