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It's official! Conan to leave NBC [updated]

[Updated 11:35 a.m.]

Late-night talk show host Conan O'Brien and NBC have finally signed their deal for Conan to exit as host of "The Tonight Show,' NBC confirmed today.

"NBC and Conan O'Brien have reached a resolution of the issues surrounding O'Brien's contract to host 'The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien,'" NBC and Conan said in a statement Thursday around noon EST.


Soon-to-be former "Tonight Show" host Conan O'Brien. (Reuters)

Minutes later, NBC issued another statement on its own announcing that Jay Leno will return to host "The Tonight Show" on March 1.

"We're pleased that Jay is returning to host the franchise that he helmed brilliantly and successfully for so many years," NBC Universal Television Entertainment Chairman Jeff Gaspin said in that statement.

"He is an enormous talent, a consummate professional, and one of the hardest working performers on television."

Conan's manager, Gavin Polone gave word of his client's exit deal to The Wrap early this morning, and told the entertainment news Web site that the deal was finally concluded when Conan decided to "supplement the severance" that his staff and crew would get "out of his own pocket." Which is another way of saying: out of the reported $32.5-million Conan is getting from NBC to leave the show after he publicly announced he would not participate in NBC's plans to move the show by 30 minutes. In addition to Conan's pocket money, the final deal contains a payout of around $12 million to members of Conan's staff which is said to be nearly 200-strong.

Conan can appear as host of another network's talk show as soon as Sept.1. But in the meantime he will be limited as to appearing on other people's shows for the near future and there is a non-disparagement clause in the deal, which will limit the jokes Conan can make about the situation from here on out, limiting our fun.

The same Web report that had the quotes from O'Brien's manager continued, to call the show he was vacating "60 year talk show formula threatened with extinction in an era of viral comedy and ceaseless celebrity exposure," and Leno, who had been attracting twice as many people to the show as had O'Brien, "well liked, but never beloved."

NBC will tell its side of the story later today and will have its chance to explain to the press how "The Tonight Show" is still fresh and dewy.

Wednesday night, as Polone and NBC executives prepared to hold hands and issue a joint statement saying they have settled the terms under which Conan will depart "The Tonight Show" less than eight months after taking over as host of the show, Conan continued to use his monologue to turn NBC's eyes a deeper shade of black.

"Over the past week, ratings for the 'Tonight Show' are up by 50 percent. When NBC executives heard this they told me, 'See, you really don't fit in around here'," Conan told America on Wednesday - or, as we like to call it, Conan's third-to-last night working for NBC.

Conan signed the exit deal around 1 a.m. PST.

Conan virtually confirmed that exit date on Tuesday when he said in his monologue, "Hi, I'm Conan O'Brien and I'm just three days away from the biggest drinking binge in history."

Though for days it's been reported Conan and network camps were this close to finalizing his exit package,Wednesday afternoon it was widely believed among the Reporters Who Cover Television that the announcement would come Thursday.

I know - you'll believe it when you see it on TMZ.

Soon we will find out find out what's to become of Triumph the Insult Comic Dog. Sadly, we think he may be euthanized, but these things happen in messy divorces. Since, all those years Conan has hosted NBC late night shows he's been a network employee and NBC had owned the shows, Pimpbot 5000, Masturbating Bear, and other creatures that sprang from Conan's creative loins probably fall under the heading of NBC Intellectual Property, which only sounds like an oxymoron.

We will also finally find out, though probably not on-the-record, details of Conan's exit package which - stop me if you've heard this before - is said to be in the $33-million range.

Conan's departure will make way for Jay Leno to return to the show he was forced to vacate in '09, when his was the No. 1-ranked show in late night, so NBC could give "Tonight Show" to Conan to fulfill the terms of a deal the network had brokered with Conan in 2004, when he was being courted by other networks.

On Thursday we hope to learn what has come out of this week's hand-wringing by the press over which side of the negotiating table has more compassion for Conan's staff and crew of about 190 who are being thrown out of work - at least temporarily - by the comic's announcement he would not participate in NBC's plan to move "Tonight" to 12:05 a.m. NBC had planned to move the iconic late night franchise in order to squeeze Leno back into the late night lineup at 11:35 p.m. after having to pull Leno's primetime show when NBC TV stations threatened to preempt it because its weak ratings were hurting their late local newscasts.

Conan's staff and crew became the Compassion Poster Children in the late night kerfuffle when Conan got stung by a Page Six item in the New York Post last Saturday that ran under the headline "Conan stiffed us, staffers say." That gossip column item quoted "Tonight Show" staffers saying things like "The production team feels betrayed. They don't understand why Conan couldn't have just agreed to move the show to 12:05 a.m. and see how things turn out, which would have allowed them all to keep their jobs," "His ego got in the way," and "There are 200 people losing their jobs while he walks off with a payoff worth $30 million."

The next night NBC took a drubbing of its own during its Golden Globe Awards broadcast. NBC suits had expected to take a little good-natured ribbing over the late-night shakeup during the ceremony, but were taken aback by the quality and the quantity of the vitriol.

Even America's Nice Guy Tom Hanks - who, not coincidentally, is scheduled to be Conan's guest on his last night as "Tonight" host -- and California's Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger took whacks at NBC on stage at the trophy show.

This week, Conan's camp told the Associated Press it was "dug in" on the issue of compensation for his staff and told the New York Times the staff's welfare was causing problems because, while people all over the country are being put out of work "we're fighting to do better for them."

NBC, meanwhile, insisted it had already agreed to pony up millions of dollars "to compensate every one of them" and called Conan's camp's comments a "ploy."

All this bad blood between Conan and NBC has really energized the broadcast TV monologue-o-sphere.

"[CBS late-night host David] Letterman has been hammering me every night - going after me," Leno said on Wednesday's show. "Hey Kev - you know the best way to get Letterman to ignore you? Marry him."

See photos of Conan O'Brien's nearly eight month run on NBC's "Tonight Show."

By Lisa de Moraes  |  January 21, 2010; 1:59 PM ET
Categories:  TV News  
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Next: Conan O'Brien: I can no longer make fun of NBC programming

Comments

"[CBS late-night host David] Letterman has been hammering me every night - going after me," Leno said on Wednesday's show. "Hey Kev - you know the best way to get Letterman to ignore you? Marry him."

Classy, Jay.

Posted by: pundito | January 21, 2010 3:59 AM | Report abuse

For those who are too young (or too uninterested, at the time) to recall, it might help to get some background on this story. Read all about how Leno acquired The Tonight Show gig, back in 1993.

http://bit.ly/6FjAQq

Posted by: horace1 | January 21, 2010 4:30 AM | Report abuse

Really Conan was not worth it and as for Leno well he stole the show from Letterman so whatever Leno's image is just that it is an image kinda like Tiger had an image
Sadly none of it has been the same since Carson

Posted by: lildg54 | January 21, 2010 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Maybe it is time for the compensation for TV personalities to be looked and assessed for value much like the compensation of Wall Street CEO's.

Posted by: msumkulish1 | January 21, 2010 10:11 AM | Report abuse

The Tonight Show is so last century. I can't believe people are still watching it. Must just be the really old, out of touch folks.

Posted by: brattykathyi1 | January 21, 2010 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Hopefully the viewing public will express their discontent with TV by switching to another channel or simply turn it off.

Posted by: msumkulish1 | January 21, 2010 10:16 AM | Report abuse

Do you all know that this pay off is more than what is onBin Laden's head ? That reward is ONLY $20 million. Somethng wrong with this picture?

Posted by: peep1935 | January 21, 2010 10:17 AM | Report abuse

Viva Conan (or Vivia Conando if you prefer) to O'Brien and No Big Chin to Leno.

Posted by: tuzoner | January 21, 2010 10:22 AM | Report abuse

I'm not much of a fan of any of the late-night shows but I don't get why de Moraes is so down on Conan. He's hardly the bad guy in all this but Pookie's snark toward him just keeps on coming.

Posted by: warddm | January 21, 2010 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Nice try but you fail. The reward for bin Laden is $27 million.
-------------------------------
Do you all know that this pay off is more than what is onBin Laden's head ? That reward is ONLY $20 million. Somethng wrong with this picture?

Posted by: peep1935 | January 21, 2010 10:17 AM |

Posted by: buffysummers | January 21, 2010 10:28 AM | Report abuse

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Posted by: katrina8532 | January 21, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse

What is utterly incredible in all this is that Jimmy Fallon keeps his job and Conan loses his. I'm no fan of Conan, but my god, have you seen Fallon? He is AWFUL! Listen to the audience's response to his jokes... almost silent (I'm not kidding). Hardly anyone laughs. And when it comes to recovering from a bad joke (Carson's magical gift), well, he ain't no Johnny Carson. At all.

Posted by: tbaxter | January 21, 2010 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Hey!!! I am a Jewish girl. I like dancing, hiking, making friends, sex. I have signed up on --**Jewishflirts. COOOOOOM **-- It's a nice and free place where Jewish seek love, fun, friends!!! My username is “sassygirl8743”. Welcome to visit my homepage!!!

Posted by: katrina8532 | January 21, 2010 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Say what you want about Conan but he has always been more than generous and gracious to his staff. 12 million divided 200 ways is a $60,000 dollar severance check per person. And in reality, as soon as Conan lands somewhere else (which he will), he will simply hire most of the back.

He also paid his staff out of his own pocket during the 4 month writers strike a few years ago, costing him millions.

Whether you think he is funny or not, he is certainly a stand up guy.

Posted by: Nosh1 | January 21, 2010 10:35 AM | Report abuse

sorry, but this is all about the "benjamins" the all mighty dollar. leno show wasn't generating the numbers and money at the 10pm slot. Conan never caught on at the 11:35 slot and his numbers/money was down also. the best solution would have been to let leno do his 11:35 time slot and call it "whatever" and conan would move the tonight show to 12:05am. 30 minutes is all it was, but conan's ego was involved and he didn't want to give up the slot even though he wasn't pulling down the numbers or bringing in the money. conan's staff who relocated their families would not be out of a job now and leno's staff would also still be working and i wouldn't have had to live with this dribble for 2 weeks. MEN - why they always gotta make bigger than what it is. if conan had stayed, he would have had an opportunity to prove he could make the tonight show work, but he took this out and now he can say it is the networks fault he didn't make the show work and he gets millions of dollars too.

Posted by: theobc1 | January 21, 2010 10:37 AM | Report abuse


Drop both of them and rerun Johnny Carson.

Posted by: waterfrontproperty | January 21, 2010 10:41 AM | Report abuse

This is really a shame that these studios throw this kind of money around. Because they PAY these clonw, you know the ones that are supposed to be funny, CONAN is great for kids, you know THREE TO EIGHT YEAR OLDS, or theEIGHTEEN TO THIRTY YEAR OLDS THAT DON'T HAVE A BRAIN. CONAN SHOULD JUST THANK GOD THAT THE STUDIO IS SO GREEDY THEMSELVS THAT DEALS LIKE THIS HAPPEN. CONAN, YOU AFRE NOT TALENTED. YOU SUCK.

Posted by: otisplumber | January 21, 2010 10:43 AM | Report abuse

It takes a staff of 200 to produce that drivel?

Posted by: poppysue85 | January 21, 2010 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Say what you want about Conan but he has always been more than generous and gracious to his staff. 12 million divided 200 ways is a $60,000 dollar severance check per person. And in reality, as soon as Conan lands somewhere else (which he will), he will simply hire most of the back.

He also paid his staff out of his own pocket during the 4 month writers strike a few years ago, costing him millions.

Whether you think he is funny or not, he is certainly a stand up guy.

Posted by: Nosh1 |
================================================

Oh pleeease, Conan didn't give a hoot about his staff. The only thing that mattered to him was his HUGE ego. If he really cared about his staff, who moved to CA and gave up everything to work for him, he would have moved his show one lousy half hour up. WHAT is the big deal? I don't understand how he can put all those poeple out of work because of 1 half hour.
He's not even funny!
Meanwhile HE pockets millions!!! And walks away.
What a cad!

Posted by: MUPPET | January 21, 2010 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Actually pundito that IS FUNNY (and sadly true). And much kinder than the BS letterman passes off as funny.

The WaPOo columnist have been trying to say that Leno was not telling the truth when he told the audience what happened - but you expose your lies when you acknowledge the FACT "Conan's departure will make way for Jay Leno to return to the show he was forced to vacate in '09, when his was the No. 1-ranked show in late night, so NBC could give "Tonight Show" to Conan to fulfill the terms of a deal the network had brokered with Conan in 2004, when he was being courted by other networks. "

Jay was FORCED to accept the deal by the network caving to Conan's threats.

And how sympathy goes to Conan who's ego was going to cost 200 people their jobs, because he doesn't like the time slot.
Who ARE you people who make him the aggrieved one - 30 million for walking away because of time slot?

/geez people

Posted by: Justice26 | January 21, 2010 11:04 AM | Report abuse

What is utterly incredible in all this is that Jimmy Fallon keeps his job and Conan loses his. I'm no fan of Conan, but my god, have you seen Fallon? He is AWFUL! Listen to the audience's response to his jokes... almost silent (I'm not kidding). Hardly anyone laughs. And when it comes to recovering from a bad joke (Carson's magical gift), well, he ain't no Johnny Carson. At all.

Posted by: tbaxter
==================================================

Conan did not LOSE his job, he QUIT his job rather than to move 1 half hour to another time slot.
Fallon, and anybody else for that matter, would have not QUIT such a lucrative position. Fallon, and everybody else with a brain, would have moved to the new time slot

Posted by: MUPPET | January 21, 2010 11:05 AM | Report abuse

That's a lot of money.

for nothing

Posted by: jato11 | January 21, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

7 p.m. (or as you coasties call it, 8) was the proper timeslot for "The Jay Leno Show." Leno would have been the perfect bridge between the fluffy stuff that runs in access ("Extra," "ET,") and NBC's "grownup" programs. Moving the dramas later would have preserved the late-news lead-in that the affiliates screamed for. But we'll never know.

Posted by: mattintx | January 21, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

YaaaaaY!
Welcome back, Jay!

Posted by: angie12106 | January 21, 2010 11:09 AM | Report abuse

I'm guessing all of you Conan bashers also are happy with the election results in Massachusetts? Conan and Jimmy Fallon are very funny. It's Jay who's lame, condescending, just flat-out boring. He appeals to the red states and their prudish sensabilities. Back to Letterman for me at 11:35. I hope Conan's back on late night TV soon.

Posted by: carusocm | January 21, 2010 11:16 AM | Report abuse

First it's excessive bonuses for failed bank executives. Now it's excessive bonuses for unsuccessful comedians. What next -- overpaid athletes? Oh yes, that probably started the trend.

Posted by: hithere2 | January 21, 2010 11:30 AM | Report abuse

$30+ million compensation...I thought at first I was reading about an average NBA player. As for Leno coming back, thanks for the warning. Now I know how to program my FIOS receiver...away from shovel jaw.

Posted by: Maximus6 | January 21, 2010 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Conan is absolutely the least funny person on TV. How he ever was awarded the show is a mystery to me. I haven't watched it since he took over except to try for a few minutes to see if anything had changed. What is wrong in this country when someone with no talent can get $30 million?!

Posted by: chollis8326 | January 21, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse

There is a God. So long Conan. I prefer a comedian at 11:30 PM.

Posted by: sportsfan2 | January 21, 2010 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Testing.

Posted by: BlkPwr | January 21, 2010 12:02 PM | Report abuse

It seems to me Conan got the better end of it. Paid millions not to work, escaping the pressure of "tonight" show ratings, sympathy, and the ability to do anything he wants earning even more $ and with lower expectations. Sign me up

Posted by: IMHO1 | January 21, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

"I'm guessing all of you Conan bashers also are happy with the election results in Massachusetts"


I am thrilled - but will be estatic when the annointed one (mmmm,mmm,mmm), botox face, and the anti-dark skin, negro speech hater are gone. (back to his birth country, her lab/hospital, and his Klan rallies.)

Posted by: Justice26 | January 21, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Im sorry but Leno is not funny. neither is Conan

Posted by: ukangitmynutz | January 21, 2010 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Amazing that Conan walks off with $33 million after being FIRED for underperforming due to his completely unfunny, juvenile show.

Amazing NBC capitulated....should have just taken him off the air summarily.

Good luck to whoever hires Conan in the future. Trouble ahead guarenteed.

He makes me ashamed to be an Irishman.

Posted by: BlanketyBlank | January 21, 2010 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Pretty nice severance package. Who needs to work? NBC is a jerk at money-management. If Sucker had left well enough alone, NBC would not have to pay out this king's ransom.

Posted by: IIntgrty | January 21, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Good for Conan. I'm never watching Jay Leno again. That was dirty. And he had the nerve to say it's just business. We know, Jay, we know.

Posted by: forgetthis | January 21, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

There is a lot more than meets the eye on Conan's buyout. Maybe Conan has major dirt on NBA behind the scenes and it would damage them if he included that in his material for wherever he goes...that's the only thing I can guess. Either that...or the Irish contingency is going to break somebody's legs at NBC for shanking Conan like they did. Anywho, glad he's making that money. He can retire in peace now if no other broadcasting network picks him up...maybe he can party like Tom Green and be reduced to revelries on VH1 with D-listers.

Personally, I like Conan. =]

Posted by: cbmuzik | January 21, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse


Now that it is official, Conan should get a good hair cut and a hair-do. The one that he is been with makes him looks silly.

NBC did the right thing. It is unbelievable that he even has a spot in the nightly time slot. Getting over $40M is a joke. He has no talent or the material for show.

Posted by: 68b2b | January 21, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

NBC doesn't care about the 25 to 35 year old audience. Not saying they should, but it will come back to bite them when the 25 to 35 year olds get older and remember the NBC forced out Conan for an unfunny hack like Leno. What's been less reported is the way Leno tanked and gave a minimal effort on his 10 pm show. No tv show host has ever been less enthusiastic than Leno was. It's like Leno had all of this planned in advance and tried to fail at 10 pm.

Posted by: johnc_80 | January 21, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Is Conan worth so many millions for not showing up for work while so many millions of unemployed Americans want to show up for work for just a piece of beef and beer? Blessed are the poor indeed?

Posted by: tjohn1 | January 21, 2010 1:44 PM | Report abuse

To my mind, NBC didn't write a very good contract with Conan. It should have had a buyout clause--for a good deal less than $30 mil, or whatever. Conan's mistake, IMO, was essentially moving "Late Night" to 11:35. That was never going to work. But the most amazing thing to me remains the apparent fact that American viewers really don't care about the 11:00 local news. I choose my 11 p.m. news based on the quality of the newscast, and I will always switch channels to get the one I want. If stations depend on the lead-in show for news ratings, I have one message: Fix your newscast!

Posted by: stuck_in_Lodi | January 21, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

LOL - I love some of the posts in here from fuddy-duddies...

"show reruns of Johnny Carson" -- Yeah, that's great for some topical humor on the Cuban Missile Crisis.

"move Leno to 8:00" -- Clearly, moving him to an even earlier and more competitive time slot would have been the answer to his prime-time ratings woes. (At least at 10, he didn't have to compete with Fox.)

Posted by: ComfortablyDumb | January 21, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Conan should take his $30 million and either go to Haiti or find bin-Laden himself.

It tells you how much profit there is in television for NBC to pay over $45 million just to release a talk-show host from his contract.

Plus Jay Leno's salary, which was reportedly over $20 million a year when he left.

Posted by: AlanGoldberg54 | January 21, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

How soon until Letterman has Conan on as a guest?

Posted by: Cosmo06 | January 21, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Lisa, We're on Standard Time now.

"Conan signed the exit deal around 1 a.m. PDT."

Posted by: thedoo-da-man | January 21, 2010 2:26 PM | Report abuse

...and we wonder why the economy is in such bad shape....

Posted by: NJJACK | January 21, 2010 2:27 PM | Report abuse

I'm not a big fan of Conan O'Brien, but one can only admire his agent/lawyer!

Posted by: tifoso1 | January 21, 2010 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Conan is laughing all the way to the bank. Good for him. The corporates suits are a bunch of ayholes.

Posted by: adrienne_najjar | January 21, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Conan outdoes Wall Street Bankers in bonuses for doing nothing.

Posted by: AlanGoldberg54 | January 21, 2010 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Eh, I was already not watching NBC. Now I can pretend I'm taking a principled stance.

Posted by: JohninMpls | January 21, 2010 2:34 PM | Report abuse

america, f yeah! here to rule the mother f'in daay yeah! america f' yeah! you are all a bunch of f'in retards!

Posted by: BMACattack | January 21, 2010 2:40 PM | Report abuse

I am willing to not appear on NBC for $20 million.

Posted by: jwmiller2 | January 21, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Oh ....

Who's the late-night ratings leader again?


IT'S CALLED NIGHTLINE, PEOPLE.


GET THE F. OVER IT.

Posted by: bs2004 | January 21, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

$45m to scram?!

sign me up ....

Posted by: WaPoGuest02 | January 21, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

"Sadly none of it has been the same since Carson"
--

The Tonight show under Carson was pretty tired by the end. Frankly, this show is cursed when it comes to turning over the reins. There has been bad blood since Steve Allen and Jack Paar's day.

Posted by: egc52556 | January 21, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Johnny understood that The Tonight Show was about his guests, with just enough self-depracating humor to stay humble. Conan thinks TTS is all about HIM, with sto-opid "look at me" humor, and "aren't I funny?". Jay falls somewhere in between, but his Headlines and Jay Walking are funny on their own merit. I'll take Jay any day over "Conan the Ego."

Posted by: redrocket | January 21, 2010 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Conan is a corny, whining, little pu$$y. A pu$$y w/ $30+ mil... But, a pu$$y nonetheless.

Posted by: Luna2004 | January 21, 2010 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Coman O'Brien, Jay Leno, and the NBC executies need to spend a day in Port-au-Prince and get a serious reality check on what is really important in this life.

Posted by: logcabin1836 | January 21, 2010 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Some bimbo below me said the Tonight show is "so last century". Baby, that's why I like it. This century has hardly started and it's already f...d up, thanks to cone heads like you!

Posted by: expat2MEX | January 21, 2010 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Can't wait to see old Jay grill the yo-yos who couldn't screw in a light bulb without a diagram.

I hope he gets really mean with the clearly uneducated young people in the streets, and strives to bring on the educated ones who have made something of themselves. I like young people with education and good spice, and I have no patience with the ones who only take drugs and live in that world. They are so obvious from "Jaywalking". I love to laugh at them, because they are so purposefully stupid.

Posted by: expat2MEX | January 21, 2010 4:37 PM | Report abuse

big whoop. the show and format are dated. 100+ channels means there is always something better to watch!

Posted by: haywoodj | January 21, 2010 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Say what you want, but the head of Goldman Sachs, according to a news item the other day, earns $65 million a year and he commented during Congressional testimony concerning the responsibility of members of the stock exchange/banks/etc, that it was hard for him to keep up with everything because things change all the time.

And for this you pay HIM $65 million, to be in charge of financial institutions that needed a bailout?

Posted by: Dungarees | January 21, 2010 6:14 PM | Report abuse

Cha' Ching! Can Conan say "exit stage rich?"


Good for him. From afar he seems a nice fellow.

Posted by: Homunculus | January 21, 2010 6:57 PM | Report abuse

Who cares. He need to use every dime for a FACE LIFT

Posted by: K2007 | January 21, 2010 7:00 PM | Report abuse

Conan O'Brien will be forever known as the George Lazenby of Tonight Show hosts. Howdy Doody went off the air fifty years ago... why is his not-so-funny goofy twin Conan still on the air?

Posted by: bna133 | January 21, 2010 7:08 PM | Report abuse

That's a hell of a lot of dough.

Posted by: jato11 | January 21, 2010 7:59 PM | Report abuse

"'We're pleased that Jay is returning to host the franchise that he helmed brilliantly and successfully for so many years,' NBC Universal Television Entertainment Chairman Jeff Gaspin said."

Boy, I am so sick of business folks trying to sound cool by referring to everything in terms of "franchise" and "brand".

I watched more of Leno and O'Brien in the last couple of weeks than usual, and I have concluded that Letterman's a lot funnier, I admire Kimmel more after he slammed Leno on Leno's show, and Craig Ferguson deserves a bigger budget. Those are the three guys I'll be watching, not Leno or O'Brien (wherever he winds up).

Posted by: alloleo | January 21, 2010 8:13 PM | Report abuse

Give Conan credit for caring about his staff, but as a performer he was flat. I don't know if he had creative license, but much of what Carson came up with was tried first while drinking with McMahon at Charley-Os. Conan was a brilliant writer for SNL and he felt slighted Lorne did not take up his cause. His funniest bits were about his getting canned by an inept management. Carson did Karnac and had the mighty Carson art players, Conan in his next gig should do the red headed step child leprechaun and the comedy club players.

Posted by: jameschirico | January 21, 2010 8:16 PM | Report abuse

"The Tonight Show is so last century. I can't believe people are still watching it. Must just be the really old, out of touch folks."
__________________________________________

Hey! You obviously haven't massaged some of the guys I've massaged watching Leno!

Posted by: SusanMarie2 | January 21, 2010 9:01 PM | Report abuse

My understanding is that those close to Conan say that he is deeply depressed over the loss of hosting the tonight show. Some feel he is devastated may be suicidal. The jokes on stage are all a good front. Hang in there Conan!

Posted by: matrox | January 21, 2010 9:28 PM | Report abuse

Here is a clip of Leno on Letterman's show sometime probably in the late 1950s.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=coacWEhWT50&feature=related

Posted by: matrox | January 21, 2010 10:44 PM | Report abuse

Good-bye, Conan. Your stint as Tonight Show host was a disaster....juvenile humor....the longest hour in television.

But after acting like a spoiled brat the last month you went out with a touch of class tonight in positively acknowledging your long-time employers.

It is a shame, however, that you ended your stint with the boring, unfunny Will Ferrell nonsense. Ferrell should not have been the finale of your show's run. You should have done a closing monologue that was funny and classy. It might have redeemed to some extent how you will be remembered. Instead you'll just be a footnote in Tonight Show history--the unfunny disaster that NBC wanted so badly to get rid of that they shelled out $45 million without needing to.

Posted by: BlanketyBlank | January 23, 2010 12:51 AM | Report abuse

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