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The deal is done

Posted by Matthew Gilbert  January 21, 2010 06:45 AM

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Early this morning, after two weeks of negotiations, Conan O'Brien and NBC have finally signed a deal that will bring Conan's "Tonight Show" to an end after seven-plus months on the air. An NBC spokewoman confirmed the deal, which will cost NBC some $40 million. Conan will get $32 million, and the rest will go toward severance packages for his staff.

The deal will also require Conan not to disparage NBC or give media interviews for a period of time. Plus, he will lose some of his intellectual property (is Triumph "intellectual"!) and signature bits. His last show will be on Friday (Leno will return to his old "Tonight Show" post on March 1) and he is not allowed to move to another network before September 1. Among his final guests: Tom Hanks and Will Ferrell.

 "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," Conan's manager, Gavin Polone, told the Wrap. "Now he just wants to get back on the air as quickly as possible."

Hey, that's a lot of money! But not as much as it might have cost NBC to buy out Jay Leno. Amazing. Did you think this was all a big hoax to get people interested in NBC again?! Are you glad to see the battle over, or were you enjoying all the acrimony? Tell me your thoughts.



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