This morning, NBC announced that Friday will indeed be Conan O’Brien’s last show before Jay Leno returns to host The Tonight Show on March 1. (Fuck NBC! Fuck Leno! Fuck three late-night shows on one station!) According to the Associated Press, O’Brien will walk away with $33 million, and his reportedly disgruntled staff of 200 will split the remaining $12 million of the $45 million settlement, which amounts to roughly $60,000 per person. O’Brien reportedly plans to supplement the staff’s severance out of his own pocket.
The terms, the details of which have yet to be formally announced, allow O’Brien to work for another network for the fall season, but he can’t “disparage” NBC for a specified amount of time. More significantly, “intellectual properties” like Triumph, The Insult Comic Dog and Masturbating Bear are no longer his. (I suggest he symbolically kills them both on Friday.)
But it’s not over yet for the Cone-Zone: The lineup for O’Brien’s last show this Friday has already been announced, and to echo nearly every reporter in the nation, “he’s pulling out the big guns.” In addition to the affable Tom Hanks (Bosom Buddies, Ned on Family Ties) and the incorrigible Will Ferrell (Elf, Mugatu, made-for-TV movie Bucket of Blood), O’Brien has booked Neil Young as the final musical act, who performed a full week on O’Brien’s former Late Night show back in 2005.
I think Barry Manilow is performing tonight. Hm. Anyway, expect some expensive gags for O’Brien’s last two shows.