TV host Conan O'Brien accepts US$45 million settlement with NBC

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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Conan O'Brien in 2007
Image: John J. Kruzel/American Forces Press Service.

After a long night of negotiations, United States television personality and seven-month host of The Tonight Show Conan O'Brien and his network, NBC, have reached a deal that would buy out the contracts of O'Brien and his staff for US$45 million and reinstate Jay Leno as the show's host starting March 1, O'Brien's manager told media on Thursday. In this agreement, O'Brien will walk away with more than $33 million. The rest will be distributed to his staff of over 200 people as severance payments.

His manager went on to say that Friday will be O'Brien's last night serving as host. O'Brien reportedly plans to have an official farewell show with American actors Tom Hanks and Will Ferrell as guests, and with Canadian rock singer Neil Young as the closing musical performance.

As pertains to O'Brien's next move, ABC has said that it is not interested in hiring him. Fox, on the other hand, which lacks a late-night talk show, expressed "appreciation" for O'Brien's abilities—but for now nothing more. Comedy Central has also been mentioned as a possible new network home for O'Brien.

When asked about the issue by the Associated Press, a spokesman for O'Brien said he was currently "unavailable" to comment.

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