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Gag Order

Former “The Tonight Show” host Conan O’Brien has been given a whopping $45 million settlement to walk away “gracefully” from NBC which means keeping his mouth firmly shut.

“How does a professional disparager honor a nondisparagement clause? Conan O’Brien is about to find out. Mr. O’Brien and his team are walking away from NBC with a whopping $45 million settlement, but there’s a condition: ‘The Tonight Show’ host can’t bad-mouth the Peacock Network and its top brass. ‘We wanted to give him a graceful exit. Hopefully he will be graceful,’ Jeff Gaspin, chairman of NBC Universal Television Entertainment, said of Mr. O’Brien, whose last show is Friday. Thursday night, with the ink barely dry on his exit package, Mr. O’Brien didn’t spare his ratings-challenged employer. ‘Have to watch at least one NBC show every weeknight in order to double ratings,’ Mr. O’Brien said. People familiar with the matter said the nondisparagement provision kicks in when Mr. O’Brien leaves the network. Being tactful has never been part of Mr. O’Brien’s comedic repertoire. While nondisparagement clauses aren’t unusual in top-dollar settlements, this one raises obvious questions about how a comedian can go about his work when he is gagged from doing gags.”


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