TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: So This Manatee Walks Into the Internet

So This Manatee Walks Into the Internet

Monty Solomon (
Mon, 18 Dec 2006 00:58:06 -0500

December 12, 2006

The skit, as scripted for the Dec. 4 installment of "Late Night With
Conan O'Brien," was about absurdist college sports mascots that the
host and his writers would like to see someday.

Among them were "the Boise State Conjoined Vikings," who had been born
locked at the horns, as well as something Mr. O'Brien called "the
Webcam manatee" - said to be the mascot of "F.S.U." -- which was
basically someone in a manatee costume rubbing himself or herself
provocatively in front of a camera (to the tune of the 1991 hit "I
Touch Myself"). Meanwhile a voyeur with a lascivious expression
watched via computer.

Who knew that life would soon imitate art.

At the end of the skit, in a line Mr. O'Brien insists was ad-libbed,
he mentioned that the voyeur (actually Mark Pender, a member of the
show's band) was watching There was only
one problem: as of the taping of that show, which concluded at 6:30
p.m., no such site existed. Which presented an immediate quandary for
NBC: If a viewer were somehow to acquire the license to use that
Internet domain name, then put something inappropriate on the site,
the network could potentially be held liable for appearing to promote

In a pre-emptive strike inspired as much by the regulations of the
Federal Communications Commission as by the laws of comedy, NBC
bought the license to, for $159, after the taping of
the Dec. 4 show but before it was broadcast.

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