NBC Dumps Conan for $45 Million Payoff; Reinstates Jay as Tonight Show Host

Conan O'Brien | Photo Credits: Paul Drinkwater/NBC

Conan O’Brien will receive $45 million for himself and his staff in an exit deal clearing the way for Jay Leno to return as host of The Tonight Show, NBC announced Thursday.

About one-fourth of the money ($11 million to $12 million) will be divided among O’Brien’s 200-plus staffers as severance, under terms of the deal announced on NBC’s Today. O’Brien’s last show will be Friday, and Leno will return to Tonight, the show he hosted for 17 years, on March 1.

Leno: Don’t Blame Conan (Or Me)

O’Brien will be allowed to appear on another network as early as September, but likely without such old friends as Masturbating Bear. …


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