RSS
NBC's Conan fiasco: By the numbers
A startling look at the financial (and human) cost of NBC's decision to force out Conan O'Brien
Will Conan O'Brien's comedy tour take off?
Will Conan O'Brien's comedy tour take off?
Corbis
A

fter weeks of feuding, the Leno-Conan-NBC standoff has finally come to a close. Last night, Conan O'Brien and NBC finalized a $45 million exit deal that will give both the ousted host and his staff a generous severence. But that's just a fraction of the fortune NBC has blown on its doomed late-night shuffle. Here, a by-the-numbers breakdown of the renowned disaster:

11:35: Current time slot of The Tonight Show, which the program has occupied since Sept. 2, 1991.

12:05:
New time slot NBC proposed for Conan O'Brien's Tonight Show so that it could give Jay Leno a half-hour show beginning at 11:35 p.m. In a letter to "People of Earth," Conan denounced this proposal, saying it would be the "destruction" of The Tonight Show.

7: Number of months Conan hosted The Tonight Show

8: Number of months Conan must stay off the air before launching a new program on another network, according to his severence agreement

60-70: Number of Conan staffers who followed O'Brien from New York to Los Angeles when he moved west to take over The Tonight Show

40-50: Number of Conan staffers whose moving expenses were covered by NBC

200: Size of Conan O'Brien's full staff

$50 million: Combined annual salaries of Conan's Tonight Show production staff, which averages out to $250,000 per person

$7.5 million: Total severance payment secured for Conan's 200- member staff, which averages out to $37,500 per person

$4.5 million: Severance payment secured for Tonight Show executive producer Jeff Ross

$12 million—$15 million: O'Brien's estimated annual salary

$33 million: Size of Conan O'Brien's own severance package

2.53 million: Average nightly audience for Conan's Tonight Show in October 2009 (the most recent numbers available)

4.75 million: Average nightly audience for Jay Leno's Tonight Show,  before Conan took over as host

$25 million: Amount NBC parent company General Electric spent to construct a new studio for Conan's Tonight Show

$200 million: Annual advertising revenue The Tonight Show generates for NBC

$15 million—$20 million:
Estimated annual revenue generated by advertising sales if Conan decides to move his show online

330,000: Number of members of the Conan Facebook fan group "I'm With Coco"

Sources: MSNBC, NY Times, LA Times, New Tee Vee, Business Insider, HuffPo, AOL Inside TV

..................................................

SEE MORE OF THE WEEK'S CONAN-LENO COVERAGE:
Conan's next move: 5 theories
Leno vs. Conan: The CGI "reinactment"
Top 7 'Jay Leno and NBC' takedown videos
Conan's bombshell statement
Leno vs Conan

EDITORS' PICKS

THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER

Subscribe to the Week