January 16, 2010
What Would Professor Kingsfield Say? Conan O'Brien-NBC Contract Dispute Awakens Sleeping 1L Contract Students
The Paper Chase's Professor Kingsfield may have given the typical contracts prof a bad reputation and probably wouldn't have needed the Conan O'Brien-NBC contract dispute to liven up his 1L Contracts lectures. But using Kingsfield's demanding Socratic Method of teaching is politically incorrect these days (and probably a terrible way to teach 1L doctrine anyway) so K profs across this great land of ours are probably jumping on the dispute as fodder for generating some classroom excitement, at least the ones who are teaching the course this semester. "Contract law is rarely in the news this way - I say let's take this golden opportunity to talk about it while we can!" writes CWSL K prof Nancy Kim in a comment to Jeremy Telman's blog post, listed below.
Certainly the Conan-NBC dispute is generating some interesting reading in the law prof blogosphere. See, for example GW law prof Lawrence A. Cunningham's two Concurring Opinions posts. A frequent commentator in the press on contract law issues, Cunningham offers a disclaimer that Conan’s brother was a student at Cardozo Law School when he taught there years ago in the first listed post.
- Conan's Contract Conundrum by Erik Gerding (UNM) on The Conglomerate
- Conan the Contractarian? by Jeremy Telman (Valparaiso) on ContractsProf Blog
Dispute Coming to a Close? O'Brien has two-and-a-half years left on his NBC contract. Reports of his salary range from $10 million to $25 million per year. He claims that his contract specifically guaranteed that "The Tonight Show" must air at 11:35 p.m. NBC claims there is no specific time slot guarantee and that the contract only requires something called "The Tonight Show" be aired. If NBC has breached the contract, Conan could be entitled to something like $40 million. The Wrap, however, is reporting that "according to knowledgeable individuals" Conan and NBC are close to reaching a settlement for more than $30 million which also allows Conan to start a new show as early as this fall. [JH]