You might think the last thing NBC execs want to see during Sunday’s Primetime Emmy ceremony is Conan O’Brien bounding on stage to claim a prize on behalf of his ‘Tonight Show,’ which is nominated for Outstanding Variety, Music Or Comedy Series.
But the Peacock has reason not to get its feathers in too much of a ruffle. That’s because the exit deal O’Brien struck with NBC when his ‘Tonight Show’ stint got cut short legally limits the extent to which he can dis his former boss.
Specifically, O’Brien is forbidden from making disparaging comments about NBC, The Hollywood Reporter reports. “Disparaging” is further defined as comments that are “false” and would be viewed by a reasonable person to be “insulting or defamatory.”
Which is not to say the carrot-topped funnyman isn’t able to make any digs at NBC – which so happens to be hosting the Emmys broadcast this year.
“He can still have a field day,” Hollywood attorney Pierce O’Donnell tells the Reporter. “He can make fun of NBC’s ratings, its shows, as long as he’s not saying anything false.”
Ironically, O’Brien’s agreement with NBC – which was hammered out when the late-night vet refused to host a ‘Tonight Show’ pushed back to midnight as a result of the failed ‘Jay Leno Show‘ experiment – expires on September 1, just three days after the Emmycast.
Emmy enthusiasts, come to Fancast on Sunday night to live chat with editors Tracy Phillips, Julie Zied and Carrie Borzillo during the telecast, and Follow @MattMitovich on Twitter for scoop from the red carpet and press room.