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Fox has had 'conversations' with O'Brien

Murdoch: Net exploring options but no negotiations yet

NEW YORK -- Fox is exploring its late-night options but hasn't started any "real" negotiations with Conan O'Brien yet as the network explores whether it could bring the late-night talent into the fold in a way that would ensure profits.

News Corp. chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch said on his quarterly earnings call Tuesday that there are "different opinions" at the network on the topic.

"If the programming people can show us we can do it ... and make a profit, we would do it in a flash," he said, adding there is a lot of thought and exploration going into the examination.

Asked if there have been talks with O'Brien, Murdoch said he was "sure there have been some conversations" but "no real negotiations."

Asked about the key challenges, he said Fox affiliated TV stations are running very profitable syndicated programming in the 11-11:30 p.m. slot, meaning a start time for a possible O'Brien show of 11 p.m. instead of 11:30 p.m. would lead to "difficult negotiations" for the network. But Murdoch said he is only speculating on options for now.