Is Conan Itching For NBC Lawsuit? “I Won’t Be Denied My Masturbating Bear!”

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In a new interview with Rolling Stone, Conan O’Brien says he plans to bring some of the staple characters and segments from his NBC show over to TBS – whether the peacock likes it or not. (via Huffington Post)

“If there’s something we did for a long time that we’ve established as ours, we’ll figure out a way to do it,” the comedian is reported to have told Rolling Stone for a new profile (excerpts can be found here). That would include such staple characters as Triumph the Insult Comic Dog and, of course, the Masturbating Bear. (Big screen comedy: See a photo history of Saturday Night Live movies)

Late night fans will remember the bad blood that marked David Letterman’s move from NBC to CBS in the 1990s, when NBC refused to allow Letterman’s new network to show any old Late Night clips. Letterman often poked fun at the legal scuffle, often setting up clips of his previous late-night skits only to cut to a black screen with white letters, identifying the footage as NBC’s property.

The same situation appeared to be in place for Team Coco, which opens up shop at TBS on Nov. 8. Way back in January, the Hollywood Reporter noted that all trademarked characters — and skits (“In The Year 3000″) — would not make the move to basic cable. But in his new Rolling Stone interview, Conan rejects that possibility outright: “I won’t be denied my Masturbating Bear!”

Variety has reported that NBC might be willing to let Conan keep some of his Tonight Show and Late Night bits. But even if they aren’t, Conan seems to be signaling that he’ll eagerly push the issue, daring his old network  — which didn’t exactly come off looking rosy after the whole Leno-O’Brien debacle earlier this year — to file legal motions.

“What I really wanna do is be sued over the bear and then appear in court with the Masturbating Bear… Your Honor, this bear can’t help himself!’”

Consider the controversy just one more reason to tune in for the fireworks Nov. 8.

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