The stalemate was one of several last-minute hitches
in the negotiations, which were expected to have been finalized earlier
in the week.
The “Tonight Show” employs about 190 people, including 60 to 70 who followed O’Brien to
paid to relocate 40 to 50 of those staffers, said a person close to
show. O’Brien’s last night on the “Tonight Show” is expected to be
The O’Brien-Leno fiasco is becoming increasingly costly for the
building a new studio for O’Brien on the Universal Studios, lot but now
must also shell out millions more developing new dramas for
Earlier this month,
after affiliate TV stations threatened to pre-empt his prime-time show
because they were losing viewers for their late local newscasts.
“We are fighting hard to get as much as possible to these people who are going to be out of work,”
“It was Conan’s decision to leave
that resulted in nearly 200 of his staffers being out of work. We have
already agreed to pay millions of dollars to compensate every one of
them. This latest posturing is nothing more than a PR ploy,”
Not so, said Polone. “It is not a ploy or a
strategy. Conan’s first priority is and always has been to take care of
the employees of the show. He paid them out of his own pocket during
the strike when
O’Brien has been unyielding in his on-air swipes at the
On Tuesday, he said, “It’s been a busy day for me
today. I spent the afternoon at Universal Studios’ amusement park,
enjoying their brand-new ride, the ‘Tunnel of Litigation.'”
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