It seems The Tonight Show War of 2010 will finally get its resolution. Earlier today, NBC announced that it had reached a deal with Conan O’Brien to vacate the host’s chair of The Tonight Show. If you’re looking to get your brand-new Conan fix in before he’s off NBC, you can do so tonight and tomorrow, as his January 22nd show will be his last. From now until March 1st, NBC will air Conan repeats in The Tonight Show timeslot. It will be at this time that Jay Leno makes his glorious return to late-night television.
Despite the rallies and various support groups that popped up over social networking sites the last few weeks, NBC seemed adamantly stuck to their plan to move Jay back to 11:30. Conan already issued a public statement, expressing his refusal to follow Jay in the midnight timeslot, and since that time, it seems he’s been in vigorous talks with the network to get some sort of buyout from his contract.
That buyout was signed by both parties and announced by NBC this morning:
‘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. Under terms of an agreement that was signed earlier today, NBC and O’Brien will settle their contractual obligations and the network will release O’Brien from his contract, freeing him to pursue other opportunities after Sept. 1, 2010.’
According to inside sources, Conan will be given somewhere between $40 and $45 million as part of the agreement. Not a bad sum to basically take a 7 month vacation. As you can see in the statement above, Conan is prohibited from working again until September 1st. But we can all expect the rumors of where he’ll start his next run as a late-night host to come within the next few months.
I’m personally glad to see Conan get his settlement. While I don’t agree with what Jay did at all, I’m sure this whole debacle will turn out to have more than favorable results for Conan. He gets $45 million dollars, and his popularity and support have both skyrocketed in the past month. Wherever he goes, his new network will undoubtedly get a huge ratings boost in their late-night hours.
And Conan, on the off-chance you’re reading this…go to Fox. I know the conanonfox Twitter account was a hoax, but a move to Fox makes perfect sense. You could assist them with building a strong late-night line-up that could rival both NBC, ABC and CBS. Fox is the only network without a series of late-night talk shows, but that could all change. Convince the network to let you on at 11:30, and then when your new show destroys The Tonight Show in the ratings, you can rub it in NBC’s face for letting you go. Make the right move here, Conan.