The Peacock Network has agreed in principle to fork over $32.5 million to Conan O'Brien to leave as "The Tonight Show" host and give Jay Leno the chance to reclaim his mantle as the king of late-night talk shows, sources said yester day.
The deal also reportedly provides severance pack ages totaling $7.5 million for the show's loyal staffers, many of whom packed up with their families and moved across the country to work for O'Brien, whose previous show taped in the Big Apple.
The decision to let O'Brien walk apparently came down to who was cheaper to let go.
Leno has an ironclad, "brilliantly written" agreement that guarantees his production company a staggering $150 million if NBC Universal axes his flailing primetime show, an insider said.
Perhaps Conan needs a lawyer upgrade.