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Conan O'Brien -- Such a Hard Decision

1/10/2010 2:25 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF

Conan O'Brien is sitting on a decision that could be worth as much as $80 million, sources tell TMZ.

Conan O'Brien, Jay Leno

We broke the story that Jay Leno will be reclaiming his old time slot. There has been speculation that NBC exercised a loophole, which would allow the network to give Conan a portion of his time slot back (12:05-12:35) without having to pay Conan a penalty -- but sources tell us that is not the case.

We're told NBC is in breach of it's agreement with Conan by moving the start time of his show. As a result, Conan now has three options.

Option 1: Quit the show and spend the next four years at the beach. If Conan does this, our sources say NBC would have to pay him the value of his contract. We're told it's a five-year deal, worth as much as $20 million a year. With four years to go, Conan could conceivably get $80 million. But given his skin pigmentation and, possibly, his ego, the beach is unlikely.

Option 2: Go to either FOX or ABC. This is where it gets complicated. If Conan were to strike a deal with either network to do a competing show, any salary Conan pulls in would offset the obligation owed by NBC. So, for example, if Conan made $20 million a year at NBC and ABC were to pay him $15 million a year, NBC would only owe Conan $5 mil a year for the four years remaining in his contract.

Option 3: Eat crow and take the 12:05-1:05 time slot. If Conan takes this option, our sources say it's likely NBC would negotiate a new contract with the same salary Conan was getting before. Even though the salary isn't supported by the time period, it's cheaper than paying him off. NBC, we're told, prefers this option, because Conan would not be splintering Leno's rating by going to another network.

So, Conan, will it be door #1, 2 or 3?

Stay tuned ...

153 COMMENTS

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1.

stan    

Tiger Woods an honest man. Said he would stay off golf course to repair marriage; but never said he would stay away from inter course. Nobody cares, if he were single, how many women he be with. Heck, America forgave Catholic Priests for pretending celibacy was dropped by the Church, but Pope didn't get word of it. Playing Mrs. Gravitz out of Bewitched TV series just gets one a neck that needs readjustment. Tiger working a deal, this just broke, to be first pro golfer in history to drive a ball all the way thru the grand canyon to where this vid ends. I couldn't think of better way to repair marriage, then whacking golf ball into outer space from inside the Russian space station. Nobody accuse Tiger of not having b.lls (not bills); I mean it got nailed for having big ones - so NASA training him. Look, got this story off Internet so probably as untrue as one of Tiger's lovers saying she didn't know who he was. Helen Keller would know who this man is. Why do I get feeling she got chills when those AMX commercials came on. I sincerely feel sorry for Tiger, because he making love; not war!! -
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T82Ot04aqNw

1684 days ago
2.

fassu    

go to fox for no salary and make nbc pay for the stupidity, and fox can spend alot of money making the show great instead.

1691 days ago
3.

Zach    

The numbers DO lie ...the one thing that is missing in the "number" talk is a lack of 10 o'clock adult/drama programing that is missing in in NBC line up to feed a late night show. If fox gets Connan for a song and dance and places him on at 11 maaaaan, watch out! Remember when NBC lost NFL football to faox and said that NFL was losing popularity ...lol.

1691 days ago
4.

M GOMEZ    

Jay Leno, can you say Kanye West?! Retire means exactly that "R-E-T-I-R-E". Leno tried to steal Conan's thunder by putting his stupid show on ahead of the Tonight Show - Conan is great and he will be just as great anywhere else

1690 days ago
5.

cory    

i think conan should take option 2. he should go to FOX and only take
a salary of one million a year that way NBC would still have to pay
him ninteen million for the next 4 years. by doing this not only does
NBC still have to pay him a large sum of cash but they will have to
deal with a ratings loss for all the people who will follow Conan to
another network. WE LOVE YA COCO!!!!

1689 days ago
6.

Grant    

Conan should take door #3.

1687 days ago
7.

aggressiveFRUIT    

I'll take one for the win, Alex! LMAO!

1694 days ago
8.

msB    

i'd take option 1 and make these NBC douche pay! :P and do a BIG come back on FOX in 5 yrs!

1694 days ago
9.

Stephen    

Sign a contract with Fox for $1.00 per year

1694 days ago
10.

boston_monkey    

Option 2.5 might be for Conan to take a gig at Fox or ABC for low money and force NBC to pay Conan to splinter the Leno audience.

I have nothing against either of these performers and I find them both to be highly talented pros. But NBC is really pathetically incompetent if this is the situation they create for two of their most loyal and successful performers.

1694 days ago
11.

LBBECCA    

Go to Fox Coco. I can't do 4 years without you! Christine Devine and you, a most excellent way to end the day.

1694 days ago
12.

JustaThought    

He should negotiate with ABC and Fox a deal that would pay him in ways other than a standard salary. Take the best offer, then take a $0.00 salary. Make NBC pay him for working at another station while he eats into Leno's ratings.

Seems NBC needs a reminder that they're dealing with human beings and that sometimes you have to pay for your programming mistakes. If they're working on a loophole, then Conan should work on his own.

1694 days ago
13.

DrTruth    

Option 5, let Conan take what they owe him and leave Hollywood to young talentless turds to continue destroying pop culture so we can all flock to the web and make fun about it on the TMZ message boards.

1694 days ago
14.

SebastianCanada    

All this money and dealing over a pair of unfunny old bores. Howdy Doody should take the money and run, as his generic comedy has no staying power. Oh, wait, thirtysomething are idiots with zero taste, so Conan should do just fine.

1694 days ago
15.

hehe    

for option 3, why would conan be eating any crow? he didnt do anything wrong on his part so that idiom doesn't apply

1694 days ago
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