One blogger insists it’s $40 million. Another says $30 million.
“They are each wrong,” an insider tells me about Conan O’Brien’s settlement with NBC. “And nothing is signed. There is still no agreement.”
But there will be some announcement today, Saturday, about O’Brien’s divorce from NBC. The true number will never be disclosed no matter who insists they have it right. “It’s going to remain confidential,” observes my source. “Also, it’s going to include deals for the staff.” Many of them will return to New York. NBC is going to be paying a lot of relocating fees. Again.
As I reported from the beginning, O’Brien had a lot of support inside NBC from the New York side. Sources confirmed for me that Lorne Michaels, who’s had his own spats with the network over the last 35 years, went to the mat for Conan. Michaels, like a lot of people, thought Conan got a raw deal.
In the end, the West Coast studio people won out over the East Coast cogniscenti. And now, “you have to believe Comcast is going to get very involved,” says a source. It could well mean the end of Jeff Zucker, whose three-year contract could be bought out. What’s happened at NBC is chaos.
Still, just about everyone I spoke to is shocked by comments by NBC’s usually sanguine Dick Ebersol in the New York Times about Conan. Ebersol, another NBC lifer, took the company’s side and was pretty brutal to O’Brien on the record. “This was from the man who just announced NBC Sports was planning to lose $200 million on the Olympics,” crowed a critic to me last night. “That’s hilarious.”