ABC News says that NBC and Conan are “on the cusp of an agreement.”
And they add something new:
NBC will reportedly pay the flame-haired comedian an exit package between $30 and $40 million, while the rest of the “Tonight Show” staff — many of whom moved from New York to Los Angeles after O’Brien left his “Late Night With Conan O’Brien” show to succeed Jay Leno earlier this year — would receive severance and contract buy-out packages.
We’ve been wondering whether Conan would have to take care of his staff out of his settlement money — this seems to settle that question. So NBC has to add those staff expenses onto Conan’s money when it’s time to tally up the bill for the whole fiasco.
“Between $30 and $40 million” is a little more ‘Coco butter’ than we were hearing at the end of last week. (Those must be some lively negotiating sessions.) Nikki Finke has been saying $40 million right along, and she’s right about things more often than she’s wrong.
[Late Monday update: The Hollywood Reporter now says the deal has been pushed back to Tuesday. They also say O’Brien’s settlement “might be worth more than previously thought, up to $45 million-$50 million, when severance packages for “Tonight” staff are included.]