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Here’s What’s Holding Up Conan’s Exit Deal

Jan 20, 2010  •  Post A Comment

No, it’s not true that NBC is so happy about Conan’s increased ratings of late that they’re having second thoughts, and thinking of keeping Conan but replacing Andy Richter with Jeff Zucker so they can verbally spar and abuse each other on a nightly basis, mano a mano.

The real reason is that Conan O’Brien’s exit deal has been held up as he and NBC haggle over his desire to get severance deals for his “Tonight Show” staff, the Associated Press reports.

The two sides are also still not in agreement on who keeps rights to his comedy bits such as Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog,

O’Brien is "dug in” on the severance for staff, one person on his side said, which prompted a statement from NBC that said "it was Conan’s decision to leave NBC that resulted in nearly 200 of his staffers being out of work." The network added that “We have already agreed to pay millions of dollars to compensate every one of them. This latest posturing is nothing more than a PR ploy."

–Chuck Ross and Elizabeth Jensen

4 Comments

  1. Oh no. Conan wants severence packages for the staff that had to relocate from NY to LA or look for other work? How dare they?
    NBC did this. Not Conan.

  2. Never thought I would see a corporate entertainment company more vicious than Disney. NBC execs make ABC look like … sorry … Mickey Mouse.
    Boy are they nasty.

  3. NBC is totally at fault. Leno’s failure at 10PM reduced audience share. As viewers turned to dramatic programming on other networks, most viewers stayed with that channel for local news. It created a poor lead in for Conan O’Brien. NBC did not give Conan’s show enough time to establish an audience. NBC should have stayed with O’Brien while they addressed their primetime dilemma. Remember Seinfeld? Seinfeld took 4 years to fully establish itself as the icon it became. Seinfeld was an NBC show and it was primetime. Also, Conan was up against David Letterman, a long established late night talk show with great lead-ins like CSI prior to local news. Leno will likely return to the 11:30 slot and never return to the prominance he once enjoyed. Conan is right to demand compensation for his 200 member staff for being uprooted and manipulated at the whim of NBC. Conan will re-emerge. NBC will go the way of General Motors, without the bailouts.

  4. Here is what I do not understand. Jay Leno signed off and agreed to leave the “Tonight Show” and “retire” five years ago, then hung on because it would involve him having to be off the air and becoming forgotten.
    If Jay did not want to leave back in 2004 and already lived through “that horrible time between ‘Dave’ and I,” then why did he not accept HIS failure at 10 and depart without contributing to this mess?
    Sorry, the “View” (which is hosted by middle to old aged ladies and should be called the “Cateracts”) seem to be the only show that are supporting Jay on the record.
    Conan wanted the “Tonight” show back in 2004 and when he wasn’t offered it, should have considered leaving NBC then because less than a year later, Furguson came on the scene, Kimmel started heating up and CoCo had new challengers to his late late night throne.
    Good for him. Even though I am a fan of “Dave,” Conan comes from the same cloth and my feeling is that Leno is like teflon in that a lot of this adverse publicity will not stick, but trust me, his ratings will not be as powerful as when he left, especially in 18-34 who will either go with “Dave” or more likely, Stewart/Colbert. Zucker is a fooker….

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