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The Late Night Controversy Becomes Clearer as NBC Reaches a Deal with Conan
NBC and Conan Reach a $33 Million Settlement
Friday, January 22nd, marks the end of the Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien. O'Brien and NBC reached a settlement earlier in the day where he will have $33 million reasons to walk away from hosting the Tonight Show.
According to details of the settlement, Conan will have to sit out of hosting a talk show until September 1, 2010. Conan still could go to another network like ABC or FOX but he would have to wait. If Conan does go to another network, some of his most popular characters like Triumph The Insult Comic Dog and the Masturbating Bear will not come with him as they are the intellectual property of NBC.
The total payout NBC and Conan O'Brien comes out to near $45 million has Conan fought for severence packages for the staffers of The Tonight Show. "Conan appreciated what NBC did to take care of his staff and crew, and decided to supplement the severance they were getting from the network out of his own pocket," according to Conan's manager Gavin Polone.
The settlement brings an end to the late night controversy. NBC announced a few days earlier that Jay Leno will be returning to host the Tonight Show on March 1st. NBC wanted to square things away once the Winter Olympics end on February 28th.
On Friday, January 22nd last episode, guests on the show will include Tom Hanks, Will Ferrell, and singer/songwriter Neil Young.
The ratings for the Tonight Show were down in comparison to the Late Show with David Letterman. Jay Leno's primetime show was a disaster for the network especially when the affiliates were losing ratings and ad revenues. This forced NBC into the controversy we see today.
Conan can do what he wants over the next several months. He is still very popular spurring fans of his to create Twitter and Facebook groups in support of him. Conan will bounce back but right now we do not know what that will be. He is very talented and talent will not go to waste. So, wake me up when September begins.