The NBC-Leno-Conan war is close to ending, according to a knowledgeable source. According to the outlines of a settlement, Conan O’Brien will leave NBC and the network will make an as-yet unspecified payment. The comedian will be free to appear elsewhere on television well before his contract expires, despite earlier threats from NBC that it would prevent him from working anywhere else.
There is still opportunity for the negotiation to fall apart, but clearly, at this point it is in NBC’s interest to put an end to this dismal episode.
It seems that Ron Meyer, the affable chief of the Universal film studio, played a key role in bringing the parties together when they were at an impasse and talks had broken down. Meyer is a former agent whose industry relationships run deep and wide. And of course, he has lots of negotiating experience.
According to the source, the resolution to the epic and highly public battle came down primarily to the size of the check that NBC would write to O’Brien. That amount remains shrouded in mystery for now, and no doubt the parties will have to agree to confidentiality as part of the deal.