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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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16.

No trailer trash    

If Conan wanted to be vindictive, he should go to Fox or ABC, sign for $2MM for 4yrs, forcing NBC to pay for Conan to be on another network.

Wonder how NBC would like that?

1655 days ago
17.

Penis Hilton    

He should take the money and run, turn gay and get a reality combo cooking/fashion shows on Bravo. Or he can move to GABC and play a recurring hasbeen talk show character who comes out on Ugly Betty.

1655 days ago
18.

Neal    

None of your options has Conan making more than his $80Million..

How about quiting, collecting from NBC, and working for big bucks at something that doesn't violate his do-not-compete clause.. perhaps a gig in LV, or a host (of what???) in a different time slot.

1655 days ago
19.

Michelle    

He can't go to FOX most of their talk shows die. Although I hope it doesn't happen to Wanda Sykes, FOX just hasn't done talk shows very well in the past.

1655 days ago
20.

Icebaby    

Yo, I ain't no sherminator but I'm hard like the terminator. Teen fan girls I kill, still, I make em pay the bill with them bodies of them. They spread legs while the other one begs, "daddy please leave me I put in in my mouth for you". Me? b!tch, you easier than a high school that good for stettin up the mood. Getting behead she had it kummin for the mummin. My chicken lickin man meat p!zzes all over that open skull. I feel dull, this must get bloodier like when pigs get muddier. I go down in history but it'll be a mystery. One girl's reply is all i need to plant a seed. A human will be created cuz we mated. Come on, feel my strong long love.

1655 days ago
21.

Jaggen    

He should just leave ABC and go back to doing what he does best, writing and staying off the talk shows as a host. He is the reason The Tonight Show has lost all its viewers.

1655 days ago
22.

Jaggen    

oooppps I mean NBC LOL

1655 days ago
23.

EShy    

NBC can't get it right, It's a really bad time for these executives to have to admit their mistakes too, with Comcast buying the network I'm sure those behind this whole mess will be gone.
They should've let Conan go 5 years ago instead of forcing Leno to announce he will leave the show. Back then, Conan on fox might not be such a big threat.

There's no guarantee Leno will get back to the ratings he used to have even without Conan on fox/abc.

I hope Conan makes the move to another network and forces NBC to pay most of his salary. I think the move to 11:30 wasn't good for him, he couldn't do his late night comedy (mostly because he wanted to keep the old audience of the tonight show). If he gets back to what he did in the late night show he could get good ratings and leave leno and letterman to fight for the older crowd

1655 days ago
24.

Will    

How about option 4? Have Conan Vs Jay in a Steel Cage Wrestling match on FOX! And for the kicker,have David Letterman as the referee!
"And King Conan hits Leaping Leno with the COCO Driver"!!! "1,2,oh wait....Leaping Leno kicks out,& hits King Conan with the Leno Lariat"!!! "1,2..oh wait....again"!!! "Letterman Hits Leno with a Chair"!!!" King Conan is climbing the cage"! "His feet touched the floor"!!! "The winner of this bout,& NEW Late Night Champion....CONAN O'BRIEN"!!!

Leno sucks,Conan should leave for another network,or they should cancel Leno.

1655 days ago
25.

auramac    

As carson advised letterman, "I'd walk"- so should Conan. Stick it to NBC. Come to think of it, Leno should walk, too. Then again, they always kiss his butt, anyway.

1655 days ago
26.

Artanis    

NO, NO, NO.

hERS'E HoW 2 HaNDLE IT!!!

Conan goes to work for FOX......for $1.00 a year! But, donates a substantial amount of money to the Salvation Army!

Revenge can be so sweet!

1655 days ago
27.

Moxy    

"Sign a contract with Fox for $1.00 per year"

Haa! I like the way you think. That would be hilarious.

1655 days ago
28.

excretive producer    

Yeh, door #3 looks like the zonk prize by doing Leno a favor who screwed Conan in the first place. Door's #1&2 look good either way. Kudos to the rooster hairdo Conan. You can peck that peacokk's a$$ anyday!

1655 days ago
29.

the sea    

Leno is a big jerk.

He's the one that told NBC he was retiring, and then changed his mind. Conan deserves whatever he gets--and I hope he laughs all the way to the bank.

1655 days ago
30.

shannon    

I hope he takes option 2 but only makes the new network pay him 1% what NBC did so that NBC will have to make up the difference, thus paying him to compete against them. But I am spiteful like that.

1655 days ago
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