Conan O’Brien and NBC have finally reached an agreement after more than a week of tense negotiations between the network and the departing “Tonight Show” host.
The Wall Street Journal reported that at about 1 a.m. Pacific Time on Thursday (January 21), O’Brien and the network settled on a deal that would ensure that he and his staff will be taken care of when he walks away from the show, which will then be hosted by Jay Leno again. NBC rep Allison Gollust confirmed to The Associated Press that a deal had been made, though she wouldn’t elaborate on the details.
The deal allows Jay Leno to go back to hosting the show at 11:35, while O’Brien will receive a payout of $32 million. An additional $12 million will go to his staff, many of whom relocated to Los Angeles from New York to work when O’Brien took over “Tonight” last year. The WSJ also reports that there is likely a nondisparagement clause for both NBC and O’Brien, as well as a provision for the comedian that would limit or not allow him to appear on or host other shows for a set amount of time.
“In the end, Conan was appreciative of the steps NBC made to take care of his staff and crew, and decided to supplement the severance they were getting out of his own pocket,” Gavin Polone, O’Brien’s manager, has said about the deal. “Now he just wants to get back on the air as quickly as possible.”