Conan and NBC Finalize Deal

Posted on January 21, 2010

The late night NBC disaster is finally over. Early this morning Conan O'Brien's team and NBC reached a deal in which Conan leaves NBC, gets a lot of money, and can go back to work on another network on September 1. Jay Leno will go back to The Tonight Show and The Jimmy Fallon Show will remain in the same time slot.

In a marathon session, lawyers for the talk show host and NBC finalized a settlement sealing O'Brien's exit from "The Tonight Show" at about 3 a.m. Thursday. The overall deal is said to be worth $46 million-$47 million, close to the $50 million annual production cost of "The Tonight Show With Conan O'Brien."

O'Brien's settlement is for about $33 million, with the rest of the money going to his staff in severance packages from the network. NBC on Thursday also formally announced the return of Jay Leno as "Tonight" host. He'll start March 1. "We're pleased that Jay is returning to host the franchise that he helmed brilliantly and successfully for many years," said Jeff Gaspin, chairman of NBC Uni TV. "He is an enormous talent, a consummate professional and one of the hardest-working performers on television."

The network will air reruns of Conan's show until the Olympics, then will reboot The Tonight Show with Jay Leno after the Olympics ends. Conan will most likely end up at Fox where he will compete with David Letterman and Jay Leno.

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