Conan deal worth $44m

By David Knox on January 22, 2010 / Filed Under Pay TV 25

The exit deal between NBC and Conan O’Brien has been finalised and expected to be announced today.

The deal is worth a reported $44 million. According to The Wall Street Journal, O’Brien is getting $32 million from NBC, with the network also agreeing to pay his staff $12 million in severance.

O’Brien will be allowed to return to television on Sept 1., according to one source. At the time of writing, no further details are available, including intellectual property ownership over some of his characters.

Jay Leno will return to his late night show at 11:35pm following the Olympics.

O’Brien has an official farewell show Friday night (US) with Tom Hanks and Will Ferrell, and with Neil Young as the final musical guest.

Source: NY Times


  1. aznfratboy January 24, 2010 at 3:39 am -

    Conan is just very very lucky imo. This story must go back to 1992…. smack bang in at the peak of NBC’s prime time dominance, their late night obviously did so as well. Johnny Carson steps out of a 30 year role and the TV arena to 50million viewers, Jay Leno steps into a rolethat everybody thought Letterman should’ve gotten. Because of NBC’s dominance, Leno maintained huge viewers, pummels CBS’ Late Show for the better part of 17 years, despite NBC losing dominance around 2001, when Survivor and CSI became huge hits, and when Friends and ER began to fall, and despite NBC going from #1 in ’99 to #4 in ’05/’06. Leno, for some reason dominated late night despite NBC’s absolute failure to come up with a scripted show, and Jeff Zucker, the guy who single handedly buried NBC six feet under, heading up the company. Back in 1992, Letterman was meant to do the Tonight Show, and Late Night (the show that comes on after the tonight show) was meant to be Leno’s, fortunately for Conan, Leno didn’t want to do late night, NBC for some reason took Leno over Letterman and gave Conan Late night… It’s like having an illegitimate child huh? One wrong decision, then 18 years later, it comes and costs you a crap ton of money. In most people’s cases, couple hundred grand? half a mil absolute tops, for NBC, 44 mil, and that’s just the start, imagine having to try and give the green light for nearly 7 hours of pilots with Zucker at the helm.

  2. Tbone23 January 23, 2010 at 12:03 am -

    Sucks i’ll miss Conan i’ve been a fan of his since the late night dayz
    hopefully when he gets a new show in Sept FTel pick up the rights.

  3. mikeys January 22, 2010 at 11:55 pm -

    @Craig Yup, sure did – hilarious!! hahah hey were both on fire :D

  4. Craig January 22, 2010 at 11:08 pm -

    Yes I know jh :)

    BTW did anyone watch Robbin Williams tonight :lol:

  5. jh January 22, 2010 at 9:41 pm -

    If the eps dont get shown, there are places on the net that are compiling the goodies.

    google: late night mayhem

  6. Craig January 22, 2010 at 8:43 pm -

    I still don’t get why this show had issues with music rights when they know there are international rights are involved?

  7. Andrew January 22, 2010 at 8:34 pm -

    @Denis, I totally agree! Comedy Channel should pick that up if they have to get rid of Conan.

  8. Sam January 22, 2010 at 8:31 pm -

    Basically, Conan decided that since NBC had screwed him over, he was going to return the favour. So on Wednesday night he really went to town. They had a Bugatti Veyron car (the most expensive car in the world) dressed up as a mouse with Satisfaction by the Rolling Stones playing in the background, for the only reason that it would cost NBC millions everytime the episode was shown including online (I think the main reason why it wasn’t shown out of the US). Adam Sandler also dropped the C word, and told the real reason why he and Chris Farley left SNL in 1995 (they were fired), and apparently this has stirred up interest too. There was also an appearance from the Masturbating Bear, which the NBC execs had forbade him from having on at 11:35pm.
    I’m looking forward to tonight’s episode ;)

  9. Christopher January 22, 2010 at 5:45 pm -

    I really hope Thursday and Friday’s shows aren’t stopped from international broadcast because of these “super expensive characters”. Just read that Thursday’s show that will hopefully air tonight included some highly expensive NFL footage. I’d much rather just watch the final shows normally instead of having to screw around elsewhere for them.

  10. DENIS January 22, 2010 at 5:36 pm -

    It is a real shame we cannot get the Craig Ferguson show(excuse my ignorance if this show is on Ausie TV),watching his opening monologue on you tube is always a joy and his Scottish wit outstanding.
    Would love to know why this show has not been picked up?

  11. Tess1988 January 22, 2010 at 4:51 pm -

    I havent had foxtel since Conan has taking over the tonight show so i haven’t seen him on it, bit i did watch him on Late night(or whatever the show was called) and it was the best US talk show, thats really the only 1 show i miss from foxtel but i hope Conan all the best in what he does next, i hope he has a better time at FOX, And Jerry Zucker and the rest at NBC have always been, well atleast since Jerry Zucker turned up have been d***heads and have no idea how to run a network, NBC hasn’t had a hit in the last 5 years and they have lost so many other sport rights, NBA, NASCAR, College Basketball & Football to name a few, One thing i know for sure is that Conan O’Brien does alot better job then Lay Leno which most likely will stop in the next 8 years or so anyway(i give it 10 max), Now seeing that Channel 10 has the rights to the FOX deal i hope Channel 10 picks it up maybe for there new SD channel, and maybe foxtel may move Conan new show to FOX8 and FOX8HD so foxtel customers can see him in HD

  12. David Knox January 22, 2010 at 2:54 pm -

    They are. NBC withheld the last show to non-US networks due to music rights.

  13. mikeys January 22, 2010 at 2:35 pm -

    The Comedy Channel is advertising “watch it while you can” and “final shows ever?” and yet they aren’t even airing current episodes…

    Are they trying to mock us? What gives?

  14. Craig January 22, 2010 at 2:26 pm -

    @Kenny – why even ask that, it’s his money and I’m sure he gives plenty to charity, I hate celebrities who come out and say “I gave a million dollars to…” it’s just crass. Also just because he’s getting $32m doesn’t mean he get’s it in one lump sum, we don’t know all the details.

    I never liked Leno but this is it, I probably won’t watch even if he has my favorite star on.

  15. Len January 22, 2010 at 1:17 pm -

    I think its a good move that Conan left…for Conan’s sake. NBC execs would have continued pressuring him to change his style to appeal to a bigger audience. Conan would have turned in to something he’s not. Fox should let Conan do his original late show at 11.30.

  16. Jaye January 22, 2010 at 12:32 pm -

    Well good luck to him.

    Maybe they can rehire him at The Simpsons? Lord knows they need him and Brad Bird will neer come back from Pixar.

  17. bigkev January 22, 2010 at 12:22 pm -

    This whole drama has only been fantastic for Conan. People, who had never heard of him before, especially around the world, have switched on in droves to see him stick it to Jerry Zucker and the team at NBC. My mother even called the other day, laughing so hard, saying she cant believe she had never seen this show before. Well done to him, and whoever finally secures him on their network

  18. Brodie January 22, 2010 at 11:48 am -

    NBC have really created a s**t storm for themselves. I don’t think Jay will easily return to his late night dominance, and it’s a real shame to see Conan gone.

    David Letterman’s take on the whole Conan / Leno debacle was been funny. But now it is becoming far too repetitive and slightly irritating, his whole show relies on Leno p**s takes.

  19. Andrew January 22, 2010 at 11:29 am -

    Steve Carrel will also be on the last show.

    I love how Conan is putting the boot in on NBC!

  20. Kenny January 22, 2010 at 9:54 am -

    Wonder how much of it he’ll donate to the Haiti Telethon?

  21. KLFH January 22, 2010 at 9:10 am -

    I believe that the comedy channel could not play the (US date) Wed 20 Jan ep of the Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien because they played an excerpt of Satisfaction by the Stones and could not get the musical clearance.

  22. Craig January 22, 2010 at 7:13 am -

    Even without the $32 mil I doubt Coco is a poor man, good to know he stood up for his staff and I’m sure after a few months off FOX will sign him and then late night will be interesting!

  23. Gloomy January 22, 2010 at 6:18 am -

    Well I certainly won’t be watching The Tonight Show until Jay leaves.

    & does anyone happen to know why last nights episode was a repeat?

  24. Neon Kitten January 22, 2010 at 6:04 am -

    NBC is going to lose out big on this one. Viewers have already voted with their peoplemeters that Leno is not a drawcard.

  25. Rutzie January 22, 2010 at 5:30 am -

    Wherever he ends up I just hope The Comedy Channel picks up whatever show he does. I can’t stand Jay Leno.

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