Aired during the Super Bowl, the Late Show ad featuring Jay Leno, Oprah Winfrey and David Letterman was one of the few gems during the most-watched game in television history. But how sweet would it have been if Conan O’Brien was there too?
Conan O’Brien was reportedly pursued to appear in a Super Bowl ad but do to the host leaving NBC’s Tonight Show, the plans ultimately fell through.
Late Show with David Letterman worker Rob Burnett said that he approached O’Brien’s former Late Night producer about having the host appear in the ad.
“There was an initial thought of having Dave, Jay and Conan together in the spot,” Burnett explained. “I did call Jeff Ross (O’Brien’s producer) to talk about it.
However, Burnett added that the invite came just as O’Brien and crew were wrapping production on The Tonight Show.
Burnett added: “It wasn’t as if they even said no. I just think they weren’t in a position to consider it all.”
Last month Conan O’Brien left NBC after a 17-year career and a scant seven-month gig in his dream job, hosting The Tonight Show. O’Brien’s move came after NBC executives made the decision to bump back the Tonight Show in its lineup and replace it with The Jay Leno Show. O’Brien balked and stated that he did not want to partake “in the destruction of The Tonight Show.”
Networks are already courting the popular host, even before Leno regains the desk in March.
Under terms of a settlement reached in the early morning on Thursday, NBC will pay Conan $33 million, which is the balance of his three-year contract with an additional $12 million that is going to laid-off producers and staff.
Until Sept. 1, Conan can’t work elsewhere and for a shorter period of time, he can’t talk trash about his former employer, appear on other talk shows or do interviews. His signature comedy bits will stay put with NBC, which includes Triumph the Insult Comic Dog.
Representatives for Conan say they’ve already heard from several networks expressing interest in him. Fox is most interested in a nightly talk show, though it must first wrangle affiliates to give up their un-sexy yet profitable late-night reruns.
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