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. He wrote the Intelligencer column for NY Magazine in the mid 90s, reporting on the OJ Simpson trial, as well as for the real Parade magazine (when it was owned by Conde Nast), and has written for the New York Observer, Details, Vogue, Spin, the New York Times, NY Post, Washington Post, and NY Daily News among many publications. He is 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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