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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 ...


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Jennifer Bouldack    

I searched all the way down through these comments, saddened by my fellow man (and woman) that you folks read this story and all you came away from it with was an argument about Jay and Conan.

That was until I got down to my new best friend "momandpopshop" who at the moment is occupying the 89th spot.

Thank you, momandpopshop, for renewing my faith in my species.

"85. We're told NBC is in breach of it's agreement with Conan


What is so hard about learning when to write "its" rather than "it's"?

Posted at 9:34AM on Jan 10th 2010 by momandpopshop"

Now, to my former friends at TMZ, the word for which you were looking was ITS, not IT'S.

IT'S always has, and always will, mean IT IS. If you aren't sure which one to use, just insert the words "it is." If your sentence makes sense, use "it's" and if it doesn't, use "its."

In the words of the great momandpopshop, "IS THAT SO HARD?"

1747 days ago

Jennifer Bouldack    

Check that - momandpopshop are occupying the 84th spot on today's program.

1747 days ago


No brainer: quit & collect unemployment.

1747 days ago


Conan should take #1 and invest the money wisely and retire. He isn't that talented anyway. NBC should look for new talent and a fresh start. I am tired of Jay Leno and I never thought Conan was funny so I never watched him in any of the timeframes. Letterman is far better and makes me laugh.

1747 days ago


It doesn't affect me no matter what Conan does... but I hope he puts the screws to nbc.

1747 days ago


So why are we shocked, Jay screwed Letterman way back when, so its old hat with Conan.
Retire Jay, you don't need this paycheck..............

1747 days ago


It is ludicrous for Jay Leno to try to have a half hour show.

NBC will be making yet another BIG mistake with a half hour show!

With the ads, there will be little time for a show. Maybe 18 minutes out of the half hour. That isn't a show!

Jay Leno deserves to get his time slot back--the full hour--since he was extremely populat at the time and NBC idiots made some really bad decisions in the first in moving him out and Conan in.

I would like to see Jay stand up for himself. I hope he is, at least behind the scenes.

1747 days ago

Politico Pablo    

Conan, just go with option #1, and start a new career working in Jay's garage repairing vintage cars.

1747 days ago


I agree with #92!
Jay needs to be on for a FULL HOUR! 30 minutes just won't cut it!!!

1747 days ago

Vale Tudo    

Something is conflicting about TMZ's report. I remember that there was a stiff penalty if NBC didn't give Conan the show in 5 years. He would get that penalty and the right to contract elsewhere. Thus, i find it unlikely that he didn't have such a clause if something like this happened. Meaning, a penalty clause as opposed to paying out his contract or simply offset him in case of other employment. This can get ugly for NBC because Conan is repped by William Morris Endeaver and I think it's highly unlikely NBC will come out unscathed. NBC is a dead network anyway and it possible that Conan could match or even greatly surpass Arsenio Halls early success at the network.

1747 days ago


I would pick decision 1! No brainer. The other options are lame.

1747 days ago


Conan nor Letterman are funny. Can't we just get some actual funny people on t.v. and pay them a little less?

1747 days ago


Conan O'Brien needs to start taking responsibility for Conan O'Brien's career. He IS the sole person responsible for the failure of The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien. At age 47, it was time for him to grow up and get with it.

Comcast/NBC naturally since their merger, will have to make changes to make the network Number One again.

David Letterman is not able to get a wider audience since ABC's Nightline is beating him merciless in the ratings currently. He is terrible and ABC is letting him know that via ratings. David Letterman needs to think about his sex addiction, his failed marriage, and other things too to include his health. CBS is going to carry his show until sometime in 2012 and I am thinking that if ABC continues to beat him out, David Letterman will have to consider retirement or resignation because CBS will grow weary and tired of him too. They would want to move forward someday, for sure.

Jay Leno kept NBC Number ONE in ratings for years and years and it was Number ONE when he left. If it ain't broke, why attempt to fix it? That is the "suits" mistake and NOT Jay Leno.

Go Jay - Come Back Home - We miss you!!!!

1747 days ago


He should go to Fox or ABC and do the show at a bargain basement price of one million (with contract to go bigger in out years) thus requiring NBC to pay the $19 million for not having Conan plus whatever they have to pay Leno

1747 days ago


door 1 , sunblock, margaritas, 80 mil ... life is good.

1747 days ago
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