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Everyone knows about Conan O'Brien's non-disparagement clause with NBC. After he declined the network's offer to move from 11:35 p.m. weeknights back to 12:05 a.m., he took a $30 million buyout. One of the conditions of that deal was him agreeing not to say certain kinds of negative things about the network.

Nothing new about the deal, but I have never seen such a clause used so cleverly by a performer to say only what he wanted to say in a major network interview as it was by the former "Tonight" show host on "60 Minutes" Sunday. O'Brien played Steve Kroft and "60 Minutes" to the hilt answering some questions and ducking others under the guise of not violating the clause. He used "60 Minutes" for one big promotional push without coming under any kind of journalistic scrutiny.

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And so, he could have it both ways -- come off as high-minded and a much better person than Jay Leno, the latenight host responsible for bumping him out of latenight, even as he tried to make Leno seem like a worm. I'm not saying Leno isn't a worm -- just that O'Brien played "60 Minutes" so that he could have it both ways.

O'Brien actually used such expressions as "but that's just me" and "I can sleep at night," to contrast his behavior with that of Leno's. I was surprised that he didn't also say he can "look in the mirror" and like what he sees -- as opposed to Leno. And yet, when asked pointblank to judge Leno, he invoked the clause.

Well look, it you are going to take $30 million to not say certain things, then don't weasel around the edges of it with whining, sniping comments about how you can sleep at night and others presumably can't. And don't put your wife on TV to say how your "heart was broken" by big, bad NBC -- the same big, bad company you and your wife took the big, fat check from.

CBS' "60 Minutes" is a storied and glorious news franchise. Sunday's interview with O'Brien was not one of its better moments. In fact, it was not even one of its better soft celebrity profiles. In fact, it wasn't even a profile -- just a quick-hit interview with a subject who got to have his way while CBS got to take a few shots at a competing network.

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