The LA Times reports negotiations over Conan O’Brien’s departure from NBC stalled Tuesday over the “Tonight Show” host’s demands that NBC compensate staffers who will lose their jobs when the show is shuttered. The issue was one of several slowing the negotiations, which were expected to have been finalized earlier in the week.
“The Tonight Show” employs about 190 people, including 60 to 70 who followed O’Brien to LA from New York last year when he switched jobs. NBC paid to relocate 40 to 50 of those staffers, said a person close to show.
O’Brien’s last night on the “Tonight Show” is expected to be 1/22. NBC has not said when the show’s former longtime host, Jay Leno, will return to the late-night slot. Leno’s last appearance on his disappointing prime-time show is 2/11.
The O’Brien-Leno fiasco is becoming increasingly costly for the GE-owned network, which “not only spent more than $25 million building a new studio for O’Brien on the Universal Studios lot, but now must also shell out millions more developing new dramas for 10 p.m., the time period vacated by Leno’s return to late night…NBC is facing $40 million to $50 million in ‘Tonight Show’ severance payments, including about $30 million to O’Brien, according to people close to the situation,” the story said.