Nikki Finke calls the deal “close but not yet signed.” Her quote from an insider: “NBC spin puts [the buyout] at $25 million. But it’s a lot closer to $40 million than $25 million.”
The LA Times calls it a done deal and says the announcement may come Saturday from NBC. They put O’Brien’s exit package at “$25 million to $35 million.” (The Wall Street Journal echoes that estimate.)
(The Times also notes that Jay Leno may have some work to do on his image. “The comedian who has painstakingly cultivated a ‘Mr. Nice Guy’ image has suddenly found himself cast as a villain and become a national punch line.”)
MSNBC (and shouldn’t they know?) puts the buyout figure at $30 million but suggests there may be a pay or play clause that would pay O’Brien less if he starts another show within a certain period of time.
(Cartoon image of Conan from South Park.)