This can only happen in the US.
Now it’s official. Conan O’Brien has signed aridiculous high amount $45 million deal with NBC to leave the “Tonight Show.” Jay Leno will be taking over the show again as O’Brien and his staff exit the peacock network. The new deal sees Coco getting hold of a cool $33 million for himself and an additional $12 million for his crew. It’s a lot more than the first reported $32.5 million for the redhead funnyman and only $7.5 million for the nearly 200 employees, who relocated from New York to California for “Tonight.” Our source added that unlike the previous draft, O’Brien would get the severance pay in whole regardless of whether he gets another hosting gig or not. The catch: the contract includes a non-disparagement clause, meaning he may not bash NBC anymore. He will also not be able to host another show with a competing network until this fall. His last “Tonight” gig will be on Friday, with Robin Williams and Barry Manilow scheduled for guesting on Thursday and Tom Hanks and Will Ferrell slated for Friday’s appearance. Leno will be taking over “Tonight” again starting March 1 after the peacock network wraps up its Winter Olympics coverage.
Conan O’Brien says he doesn’t expect to return as “Tonight Show” host after Friday, but as long as he’s still with NBC he’ll do whatever he wants and the network “has to pay for it.” “For the rest of the week we’re going to introduce comedy bits that aren’t so much funny as they are crazy expensive,” the “Tonight Show” host said on Wednesday. One example: a blue Bugatti Veyron sports car (“the most expensive car in the world,” O’Brien quipped) outfitted with whiskers to look like a mouse and accompanied on the air by the Rolling Stones’ original master recording of “Satisfaction.” Total price tag for the character: $1.5 million “Does (the music) add anything at all to this comedy bit?” O’Brien asked while standing next to the “mouse.” “No it doesn’t. Is it crazy expensive to play on the air, not to mention the rights to re-air this clip on the Internet? Hell yes.” Off the air, O’Brien is also set to extract serious coin from his employer. NBC could pay O’Brien more than $30 million to exit “Tonight,” which would pave the way for Jay Leno’s return to the 11:35 p.m. time-slot, according to The Associated Press. With O’Brien and network executives reportedly still locked in negotiations on Wednesday, the comedian continued to joke about career options and hammer his bosses, as he has since last week. “Hello, I’m Conan O’Brien — sorry if I’m a little late,” O’Brien said to kick off his monologue. “I had a job interview at Lady Foot Locker. “Over the past week, ratings for the ‘Tonight Show’ are up by 50 percent,” he added. “When NBC executives heard this they told me, ‘See, you really don’t fit in around here.’” In the surest signal yet of O’Brien unlikely to return as “Tonight” host after next week’s planned hiatus, the comic urged viewers to keep tuning in because “this will probably be a very significant week.” “It’s looking like it could be our last week,” he said at one point. NBC has not confirmed O’Brien’s final end date on “The Tonight Show,” but MSNBC.com reported Wednesday evening that “Tonight” staffers have not booked any celebrity guests on the program after this Friday. Robin Williams and Barry Manilow have been booked for Thursday’s show with Tom Hanks and Will Ferrell set to close out the week. Incidentally, Ferrell was O’Brien’s first guest when he took over “Tonight” in Los Angeles nearly seven months ago. “In our circles, it’s understood that the show ends on Friday,” a late-night television source told MSNBC entertainment reporter Courtney Hazlett. “This whole experience has been so surreal,” O’Brien said on Wednesday. “I never thought I’d be jealous of the long, illustrious run that NBC gave ‘Joey.’” In other late-night news, Jay Leno blasted CBS funnyman David Letterman Wednesday for saying he caused NBC’s latest crisis by sticking with the network after learning he would lose “Tonight” six years ago. “Hey Kev, you know the best way to get Letterman to ignore you?” Leno asked band leader Kevin Eubanks. “Marry him. He will not bother you. He won’t look you in the eye.
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