By Ryan Parsons | Image property of respective holders, THR
The contracts have been signed (and unsigned), with Conan O'Brien free to exit NBC with $33 million in his back pocket. What? They wrote a check.
Conan O'Brien Officially Leaving Tonight Show
Conan may have got $33 million, but that wasn't all NBC paid out. The network wrote off $52.6 million in the deal, with other funds going to staff severance and shutdown costs.
The agreement allows Conan to start airing shows on another network starting September 1st. And, trust me, he's wanted. Though he is not allowed to negotiate offers until his exit from NBC, he has been approached with "informal" inquiries. Fans and network execs assumed that the soon to be ex-Tonight Show host would make his way to Fox, and that prediction is still looking accurate. The network has been trying to compete in the Late Night window for some time and Conan seems like an easy pick-up.
But don't rule out FX, USA, Comedy Central or even some premiums like HBO and Showtime either.
It should be noted that O'Brien will use his $33 million to directly pay the show's staffers. "He just wants to make sure they are taken care of," said O'Brien's longtime manager Gavin Polone.