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Over Lunch, At the Bar and Over the Cubicle Wall

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NBC digs deep to find the laughter.
It’s been a humbling year for the proud Peacock Network. But considering how the ratings-challenged network has been dragged through the mud, NBC Universal’s media cocktail reception was a rather jovial affair.
Photo: Nancy Kaszerman
Bob Wright

Setting the tone was the network’s newest funnyman, NBC Universal Chairman Bob Wright. He welcomed reporters by explaining that he now understands how his relationship with the press works: Network execs talk about something, the press catches wind and reports it and NBC is rarely better off for it. In fact, he said, he was recently quoted calling NBC was a "desperate network."

Of course, that was not true, he said -- what really came out of his mouth, had you heard the whole quote, was “we’re a very desperate network.”

And he kept 'em coming: “2005’s been a good year,” he said. “A lot of things have clicked. Unfortunately, prime time wasn’t one of them.” Later, he thanked the media for coming and said NBC wanted them to leave with a gift. “I know you’re not allowed to accept anything of value,” he said, “so we’re going to offer you the complete first season of ‘Father of the Pride’ on DVD.”

Conan O’Brien, who takes over Jay Leno’s late night slot in 2009, dropped by the event as well, and gave the man his props -- though with Wright laying down the one-liners a bit too well, O’Brien did wonder if he should worry about his own job security.

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