‘Coco’ Settles Deal: Will Get $32.5M To Exit ‘The Tonight Show’; Leno To Return March 1st
After two long weeks of late night drama and a lot of speculation, Conan O’Brien has finally settled his contract with NBC. He will lose The Tonight Show and will get to walk away with $32.5 million severance pay, and another $12 million for his staff. Tonight is his last appearance as host. Jay Leno is set to return after the Winter Olympics on March 1st. Conan will end the show just as he began it seven months ago: with Will Ferrel. Also appearing are Tom Hanks and Neil Young plus a few surprise guests.
I think that it’s officially time to stop feeling sorry for “Coco.” On HuffPo, John Milewski writes:
In my humble opinion, Conan’s Tonight Show jumped the shark in record time in what has become an orgy of disconnected self-indulgence…
My problem is with a segment introduced during the last couple nights in which something not very funny is done for the purpose of spending NBC’s money. Last night’s skit designed to waste network cash involved a racehorse in a mink watching restricted NFL programming. As advertised, it wasn’t funny, but it did cost NBC 4.8 million dollars about which Conan gloated…
In fact, Conan made an appeal for donations to Ben Stiller’s Haiti relief charity last night mere moments after reveling in the lame but expensive racehorse gag. Apparently it’s not just Washington and Wall Street that doesn’t get it.
It’s true. With Haiti and the economic recession, to see a rich white man gloating about spending millions of dollars on nothing is not entertaining. This week, Conan has done nothing to show that NBC is making a mistake in firing him. He just doesn’t belong on The Tonight Show. It’s not his arena. He should join Jon Stewart on Comedy Central where his irreverent persona will be more appreciated. He’s not for the masses. And that’s okay. It’s time for fans to accept that. Conan, maybe even more than Leno, is getting an unbelievably fair deal in this debacle. To all those people who are “with Coco”: stop bitching!