4TH UPDATE: Late tonight, “Team Coco” sources added this about “Team NBC”: “I am of the understanding that he can’t do that kind of thing until September. And you should ask what they are afraid of his saying that they have to gag him anyway? Seems like a lot to spend to keep someone quiet, if that is their intent. If he did the Tony’s and didn’t make jokes about the situation, it would be lame. He won’t take any job if he doesn’t think he’ll be great.”
3RD UPDATE: Now “Team NBC” sources tell me: “The severance agreement gives Conan the explicit right to do hosting gigs after May 1, so its B.S. that he ‘can’t perform’. And if he wanted to ‘speak freely about NBC’, he shouldn’t have accepted NBC’s over $40 mill payoff.”
2ND UPDATE: To which “Team Conan” sources reply to me: “He can do interviews but can’t perform. He also can’t speak freely about NBC, which kind of kills his doing things in the way he’d want.”
UPDATE: Oh, this is interesting. “Team NBC” sources tell me tonight that Conan’s severance deal with NBC doesn’t prohibit him from making TV appearances after May 1, “so he totally could have hosted the Tony’s. More likely, he didn’t want to do it, and used his agreement with NBC as an excuse to say no to Les.”
EXCLUSIVE: Sources tell me tonight CBS tried to hire Conan O’Brien to host this year’s Tony Awards on June 13th. But he had to turn down the offer because of the restrictions NBC put on his activities until September 1st in exchange for that giant $40 million payout for himself and his Tonight Show staff. Boo. Hiss. This would have been fun since Coco did a great job hosting the Emmys in 2002 and again in 2006. Anyway, I love how Les Moonves at least tried to mess with Jeff Zucker over this.