It’ s not just Conan O’Brien who gets the shaft in NBC’s late-night debacle. It’s his entire staff, too.

For four years the Conan staff knew their jobs in New York would end eventually, and they had to make the decision whether to move to Los Angeles.

They did, selling houses and uprooting kids from schools.

Now they’ll have to decide if they should stay or return. My guess is they will try and exit the West Coast and return to the real world. Hollywood, as usual, has turned out to be a fantasy.

“Conan spent most of last weekend with the families and staff,” an insider told me yesterday. “Reassuring them.”

Indeed, much of the negotiating going on between Team Conan and NBC is what to do about all these people.

The only member of the New York team who didn’t join the new show was bandleader Max Weinberg. He stayed with Bruce Springsteen, who went on tour. You can pretty much guess we’ll never see The Boss on “The Tonight Show” again in this lifetime. But of course, Bruce has always been a better fit on David Letterman.

The whole experience no doubt will put a chill through the staff of ABC’s “All My Children.” They were also forced to decide on a move to Los Angeles this winter. Everyone can learn a lesson from this experience: Never trust a network, despite a guarantee. In Hollywood, contracts mean very little.

Author
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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