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Contract Buyout of the Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien?

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By Minara El-Rahman on January 19, 2010 1:10 PM

It seems like one of the biggest feuds over late night television may finally be settled this week. ABC News reports that the end of negotiations for a contract buyout of The Tonight Show With Conan 'O Brien is near.

ABC News reports that the television networks wants to oust Conan O'Brien from The Tonight Show in order to reinstate Jay Leno in his old television time slot. In order to do that, they need to reach a severance package with Mr. 'O Brien. According to ABC News, the severance package deal for Conan O'Brien may be $30 to $40 million dollars plus severance packages for his staff. If an agreement is reached, CNN reports that the deal could prevent Mr. O'Brien from taking shots at NBC. The late night comedian has taken to bad mouthing the network during his shows since the feud erupted.

Currently, sources claim that the contract buyout negotiations are stalled because Mr. O'Brien wants to ensure that the severance packages of his staff will be adequate. He worries that they will not be able recoup the losses they incurred when they made the move to Los Angeles to do the show with Mr. O'Brien. ABC News quotes O'Brien's manager Gavin Polone, as saying, "The main issue at this stage is how well they're planning on taking care of the people who are out of work, and that's Conan's main concern and that's the focus of all negotiations at this point."

In the meantime, NBC CEO Jeff Zucker stands by his decision to pay Conan O'Brien off to go away: "From a financial standpoint this is the right move. We didn't want to do it, because we wanted to keep Conan. But we're going to be fine, even paying Conan to go away."

I am sure that NBC is loving the press it's been getting. During the Golden Globes, Julia Roberts said: "NBC, you guys are in the toilet right now."

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