NBC refused to let Conan O’Brien appear on Idol Gives Back

Conan O’Brien won’t appear on American Idol 9’s Idol Gives Back special in about a month because NBC won’t let him.

In a story about Conan’s discussions with Fox about hosting a late-night show on the network, The Hollywood Reporter says that “O’Brien has been approached to take part in Fox’s ‘Idol Gives Back’ special April 21” and that “the invitation to O’Brien came not from Fox but from ‘American Idol’ producer 19 Entertainment.”

But the paper says that “invitation was taken to NBC to determine whether that network would allow it under its settlement with the talk show host. The answer was no, as the moratorium on any TV appearances by O’Brien doesn’t expire until May 1.”

So, the network that screwed him and dumped him in favor of that not-at-all-funny hack Jay Leno is now preventing him from participating in a charity event on a competing network. I understand the contractual prohibition, and that Idol Gives Back isn’t exactly a telethon—it’s an episode that Fox wants to draw as many viewers to as possible—but this still seems very déclassé.

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