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While Conan O'Brien plans exit, shows try to woo him to their couch to spill more beans

January 20, 2010 | 10:39 am

While Conan O'Brien prepares for his last show on NBC and lines up his final guests and parting shots (no, Howard Stern apparently isn't making the trip to Burbank), other TV shows are lining up trying to book O'Brien for themselves.

"Virtually every outlet known to God and man is offering Conan the opportunity to talk," said O'Brien's spokeswoman, Leslee Dart.

CONANTILT It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that the morning shows -- ABC's "Good Morning America" and CBS' "Early Show" -- are leading the charge. Also likely working the phones and sending the fruit baskets are the bookers at CNN's "Larry King" and CBS' "60 Minutes." Maybe Charlie Rose has a shot now too, since he showed some heft in his tough questioning of NBC Universal chief executive Jeff Zucker on Monday night. We're pretty sure we can rule out NBC's "Today Show" as a potential stop for O'Brien.

For now, O'Brien will keep his remarks limited to NBC's own airwaves. Even there, he is starting to dial down the vitriol just a little bit. That might be a good idea. As more information emerges about the roughly $40 million NBC is going to pony up to make his exit all the smoother, it might be harder to maintain the high level of support. That's why the message Team Conan is trying to get out is that the talk-show host is focusing on taking care of his staff first. That is "the only thing Conan is interested in doing right now," Dart said.

Odds are that if O'Brien does decide to sit down anywhere, it'll be with David Letterman on CBS. Letterman has been the most ardent of NBC- and Jay Leno-bashers (outside of O'Brien, of course) and is worshiped by O'Brien, ABC's Jimmy Kimmel and most television critics. The most fun would be if O'Brien stopped in at Howard Stern's satellite radio show; then he could let it all out.

Of course, if O'Brien wants to show there's no hard feelings, maybe he'll go on Leno's show.

-- Joe Flint

Photo: Conan O'Brien. Credit: Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times. 

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