Conan O'Brien, NBC reach deal: Conan leaves Tonight Show with $45 million, can start a new show later this year


Game over, friends. NBC just released a statement saying it had reached a deal with Conan O’Brien that sees him bumped off The Tonight Show and bumped into a large sack of money worth $45 million. Of that $45 million, Conan will keep $33 million, the rest of which will go to his 200+ person staff as severance. Conan’s free to start a new show as of September, 2010. Oh, and Leno comes back to The Tonight Show on March 1.

For Conan fans—we’re all Conan fans here—it’s bittersweet. None of us wanted to see Conan leave The Tonight Show, but if NBC is going to be a jerk about it then he might as well walk away with a nice chunk of change. That Conan is differing $12 million out of his own pocket to help out his staff tells you what kind of man Conan is. A rarity in Hollywood, to be sure.

Conan’s manager told The Wall Street Journal the he wants to get back on the air as quickly as possible. In the meantime, we’ve offered Conan the opportunity to do a little bit of tech blogging in his spare time between shows.

As for Leno, yeah, he returns to The Tonight Show on March 1, after NBC airs the Winter Olympics. I don’t know how I, and others like me, can register my disdain. It’s not like I can watch Leno’s new Tonight Show less than I watched his old Tonight Show. You can’t watch less than zero.

Ron, from Ron and Fez on Sirius XM, said it best yesterday: Leno really ought to have moved on like a gentleman in 2004 when NBC first asked him to step aside for Conan. And what was Leno doing with the show? Jay Walking, something we’ve seen since the days of Howard Stern? (I said something positive about Howard Stern! Call the police, I must be crazy!) More wacky headline typos? Like, I’m sorry, but if you laugh at a newspaper typo you should be sent to America’s Gulag: New Jersey.

That is all.