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Thursday, January 21, 2010

It's official: Conan is done with NBC

     It's a done deal.  Multiple news sites (like this one, this one, and even this one!) have reported that Conan O'Brien has accepted a $45 million severance package to leave NBC for good.  It had been reported that the major obstacle left to be worked out concerned what would happen to Conan's staff.  Under the final deal, Conan will take $33 million, and the rest will be split among his roughly 200 employees.

     Something else that needed to be negotiated was how long Conan needed to stay off the air waves after leaving NBC.  While he was still supposed to be under contract to the network for some time, this current deal will allow him to return to television as early as September 1st of this year, assuming someone else hires him.  ABC doesn't seem to be much interested, and Fox, which was willing to pay a heck of a lot a few short years ago, is playing coy.  Comedy Central is said to be a possibility, but how he would fit in with the very popular Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert remains to be seen.

     Conan will air his final episode as host of The Tonight Show tomorrow night, and will feature guests Tom Hanks and Will Ferrell.  You may remember that Farrell was on his first show, way back last June.  NBC will air reruns of the show next week, which had previously been scheduled, but there is no word yet on what will do during the last two weeks before the Olympics, during which Conan was supposed to film new episodes, but will now not.  NBC wasted no time in confirming that after the Olympics are over, Jay Leno will resume his previous job as host of The Tonight Show in it's customary time slot.  While Leno had better ratings than Conan ever achieved, popular support in the current fight has been mostly behind the Irish red head.

      The Tonight Show, no matter who is hosting, airs on NBC at 11:35pm Monday through Friday.

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