NBC spends $44 million to dump Conan O’Brien

After two weeks of back room negotiations and public embarassments, NBC today announced the deal is done to dump Conan O’Brien from the Tonight Show and restore Jay Leno as host.

O’Brien’s last show is Friday. Leno will return in March after NBC concludes its Winter Olympics coverage.

According to reports, NBC is paying $44 million to get rid of O’Brien. The settlement includes $32 million directly to Conan and $12 million in severance packages for his staff who relocated from New York to Los Angeles when he took over the show last year.

In the end, the debacle has been a struggle between two failues: Leno, who flopped in a much-hyped five-day-a-week prime time show and O’Brien, who took the Tonight Show from first to last in ratings.


  1. Sandra Price

    Oh my, he’s gone.  whatever will I do as he is just one of thousands of television shows I have never watched.  I can live without entertainment except when I try to work a crossword puzzle.  Another Icon has disappeared from my list of answers.  I am living with a handicap when I wait for a clerk at Safeway.  The magazines abound with people I have never seen with marriage breakups full of crime.  So many children without fathers and some without mothers. 

    I do know who Leno is as he lived in my neighborhood of Calabasas and people would point him out and all I saw was chin.  I’ve been deprived of the American culture of celebrity.  I’m too old to get into it now.



  2. AustinRanter

    Kent Shaw – “Who is Conan O’Brien? Who is Jay Leno? Why should I care about this issue?”

    Conan O’Brien, just an ordinary talk show guy, is $44 million richer beause of very poor management’s contract with Conan…and Jay Leno, another ordinary talk show guy, will continue making 25 million a year…hmmmm, probably for another 10 years on the Tonight show.