Conan O'Brien Set to Exit, Jay Leno Set to Regain The Tonight Show
Conan O'Brien is close to finalizing his exit from The Tonight Show, with his last episode suspected to air next Friday. According to Variety, Jay Leno will once again sit in the host's chair starting March 1st, the night after the Winter Olympics conclude.
Details of the agreement between Conan O'Brien and NBC were not disclosed, but it is known that an concord was hammered out late Friday night, with O'Brien suspected to sign over the weekend. It's believed that O'Brien will receive between $30 to $40 million for exiting the show, but it could be less if he decides to jump to another network.
Conan currently has the opportunity to launch another late night show elsewhere by fall or early 2011. The agreement will allow Leno to retake his 11:35 pm time slot several months before Conan is back on the air. At this time, Fox is the most viable option for Conan to return to the airwaves. He also has the option to move to cable, but his late night budget would be drastically reduced in that playing field. More details to come after the weekend.