Saturday, January 16, 2010

More on the Jaypocalypse

Given the drama at NBC, Conan O'Brien is delivering huge ratings.
For the first time in several weeks, Mr. O’Brien was ahead of his main rival, David Letterman on CBS, even in the broad household ratings that are delivered the next day. Mr. O’Brien had a 3.2 household rating Friday night, to a 3.0 for Mr. Letterman.

And the margin of his win among the younger adult viewers preferred by advertisers grew even larger in preliminary numbers from the top 24 cities. In that measure, called the local people meters, Mr. O’Brien hit his biggest number of what has been a big week for him, a 1.9 to just a 0.8 for Mr. Letterman among viewers from age of 18 to 49.
NBC and Conan O'Brien's camp continues to negotiate on a settlement.

Here's the worst part so far of all of this mess: NBC gets to keep characters that were created during O'Brien's tenure on both shows.
The Masturbating Bear is dead.

As a deal nears for Conan O'Brien's exit from NBC, one thing is certain: the characters and recurring comedy bits O'Brien originated during his 16-plus years on "Late Night" and "The Tonight Show" will not follow the host when he leaves NBC.

The Peacock owns the intellectual property behind such popular O'Brien characters as Pimpbot 5000 and Conando, as well as recurring segments such as In the Year 3000 and Desk Driving. Sources involved in the settlement negotiations say NBC is keeping the copyrighted and trademarked elements of O'Brien's shows as part of the deal. That means the bits and characters will likely never be seen after O'Brien's "Tonight" ends its run Jan 22. ‬

While the vast majority of the characters O'Brien introduced are said to owned by NBC, it's unclear who controls Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, the crass canine puppet that is perhaps O'Brien's most popular recurring bit. Triumph was originated by writer and longtime O'Brien pal Robert Smigel, whose reps declined to comment on whether Smigel or NBC owned rights to the character.

In 1993, David Letterman got into a dustup with NBC when he departed "Late Night" for CBS's "Late Show." NBC attorneys attempted to prevent Letterman from taking intellectual property originated on "Late Night" to the comic's new home. Letterman responded by dropping certain bits and renaming other recurring segments--"Viewer Mail" became "CBS Mailbag" and frequent guest Larry "Bud" Melman began referring to himself by his real name, Calvert DeForest. Letterman mocked the dispute on his first "Late Show" when NBC anchor Tom Brokaw interrupted the monologue and stole cue cards in the name of securing NBC's intellectual property.
This truly sucks.

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