Conan signs deal to leave NBC

O'Brien cheaper to let go than Leno

It’s official: Conan O’Brien will be leaving The Tonight Show and NBC. After his final show this Friday, the late-night program will once again be in the hands of Jay Leno. It took until today for the host to work out the terms of his severance deal with the network, but the final package gives O’Brien $30 million, plus severance money for his crew (paid jointly by NBC and O’Brien himself). If he gets a show on another network, he will not be free to go back on the air before September 1 under the terms of this agreement. Despite the tens of millions of dollars this is costing them, this is actually the cheaper deal for the network: apparently according to the terms of Jay Leno’s contract, it would cost them much more to let him go than to let Conan go. Apparently Leno, who is his own agent, negotiates better deals than O’Brien’s high-powered people.

The Wrap

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