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Conan may get last jab at NBC

Ex-'Tonight' host's nod may see him get award on network's own Emmy show.

July 09, 2010|By Joe Flint, Los Angeles Times
  • Conan O'Brien's "Tonight Show" was nominated.
Conan O'Brien's "Tonight Show" was nominated. (Paul Drinkwater / Associated…)

Conan O'Brien is getting one more shot to perform on NBC.

The lanky, red-haired comedian was nominated for an Emmy Award for his seven-month stint as host of NBC's "The Tonight Show." If he shows up and wins, it has the potential to be an incredibly awkward televised moment, as O'Brien could tell his former employers exactly what he thinks about them on his old network, which is airing the show.

The nomination in the variety, music or comedy series category is the latest twist in the late-night fiasco at NBC. He quit as host of "The Tonight Show" after NBC decided to restore Jay Leno to late night and put him in O'Brien's 11:35 p.m. time slot. Rather than move "The Tonight Show" to 12:05 a.m., O'Brien resigned and subsequently struck a deal with TBS for a late-night show that will start in November.

Overall, the show picked up four nominations including one for writing. Meanwhile, Jay Leno's version of "The Tonight Show" was not nominated. That's nothing new for Leno's show, which has never been a favorite of academy voters. His one win for variety, music or comedy series was in 1995.

O'Brien was his usual sarcastic self on Twitter, where he posted a response to the nominations.

"Congrats to my staff on 4 Emmy nominations. This bodes well for the future of The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien," he tweeted.

NBC said in a statement that it congratulates O'Brien along with the rest of the network's nominees.

O'Brien's nomination came without a big marketing push, not that he needed any publicity given all the media attention about the late night shake-up over the past year. TBS did run some advertisements urging the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences to nominate O'Brien, but that was seen more as a goodwill gesture to their new employee than a serious campaign.

Leno wasn't the only late night host one shunned by Emmy voters. CBS's "Late Show With David Letterman" also wasn't nominated for the top variety show trophy.

O'Brien will have his work cut out for him. "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart" has won this category for seven years in a row. The rest of the competition is Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report," HBO's "Real Time With Bill Maher" and NBC's "Saturday Night Live."

joe.flint@latimes.com

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