WHAT follows is an "NBC memo" read by Jay Leno on a recent...

Salmagundi

August 04, 1993

WHAT follows is an "NBC memo" read by Jay Leno on a recent "Tonight Show with Jay Leno," regarding NBC's policies concerning what "intellectual properties" David Letterman may use on his new CBS show:

Mr. Letterman may not use any words containing the letters "N," "B," or "C" on his show. Legally, they're ours.

Because color broadcasting originated with NBC, all of Mr. Letterman's broadcasts must be in black and white.

Guests on Mr. Letterman's show may not sit down. That idea originated with Steve Allen on NBC. Therefore, all Letterman guests must either stand or squat.

Mr. Letterman may not throw a pencil through a window. Nor may he use an incendiary device to blow up a GM pickup truck. Those are both intellectual properties of NBC.

Mr. Letterman cannot take the Top 10 list with him, but he is free to take whatever he wants from the NBC TripleCast.

Mr. Letterman may not use the word "clip" on his show, as in "to show a clip." We own that phrase. When referring to a clip, we suggest he call it something else, like a "film thingie."

Mr. Letterman does not have use of any visual representation of the NBC peacock. Nor may he use the little-known NBC Cornish game hen.

If Mr. Letterman makes a "Matlock" joke, he has to make clear he's referring to one of the new "Matlock" episodes now on ABC -- not one of the old "Matlocks" from NBC.

Mr. Letterman cannot use the phrase "I pity the fool." That is the intellectual property of NBC through a licensing agreement with Mr. T.

Mr. Letterman cannot use the term "Letterman" because it originated with the singing group who appeared on NBC's Kraft Music Hall with Eddy Arnold in 1970.

Mr. Letterman may not take stupid pet tricks to his new show, but we generously offer him "Laugh-In's" "Flying Fickle Finger of Fate."

Mr. Letterman may no longer make fun of "pinhead network executives." Pinhead network executives are the exclusive property of NBC.

And finally, in the spirit of compromise, NBC has agreed to share custody with Mr. Letterman of the word "Buttafuoco."

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