Conan O'Brien's Exit Deal With NBC
Conan O'Brien is walking away with a whopping $32 million payoff. His executive producer gets $4.5 million and his staff will share $7.5 million. That's a grand total of $45 million to get out of town.
After weeks of extraordinary public feuding, O'Brien's manager released a conciliatory statement saying, "In the end, Conan was appreciative of the steps NBC made to take care of his staff and crew, and decided to supplement the severance they were getting out of his own pocket."
The deal, hammered out at 1a.m. Thursday, includes a "non-disparagement clause" with O'Brien agreeing to halt his vicious attacks on the network. But on last night's show, taped at Universal Studios in Hollywood right before the deal was signed, he got off a few parting shots.
"Until they yank us, we can do whatever we want and they have to pay for it," said O'Brien. He claims he spent $1.5 million on a Bugati Veyron, the most expensive car in the world, and sent the bill to NBC. It turns out the car was on loan from a museum.
David Letterman continued his assault on Jay Leno with a segment he called Jay Leno, A Look Back, which said, "In 2010 Leno stole The Tonight Show from Conan. In 1992 he took it from the beloved Carson."
Leno fired back with, "Letterman's been hammering me every night. You know the best way to get Letterman to ignore you? Marry him." Leno's guest Arsenio Hall, a former talk show host himself, expressed awe at the O'Brien deal, saying, "I wish they'd pay me $40 mil' to stay at home."
Even Jennifer Lopez weighed in on the talk show wars earlier this week on The George Lopez Show.
"NBC is thinking of changing the peacock to a cougar because they're trying to attract young viewers to an old host," Lopez joked.
O'Brien's final Tonight Show will air Friday, with guests Tom Hanks and Will Ferrell. They were his first guests when his show began in June 2009.
So what's next for O'Brien? According to his manager, he won't be unemployed for long. "[O'Brien] wants to get back on the air as quickly as possible," he said.
O'Brien began his monologue last night with, "I'm Conan O'Brien. Sorry if I'm late. I had a job interview with Lady Footlocker."