NEW YORK (
) -- And the winner of
The Tonight Show
debacle is...Conan O'Brien, according to
Maybe it was the fact that O'Brien left
NBC with a severance package of $45 million for himself and his staff, even though he was only on the show for 11 months.
Or maybe its the rumors that Fox, owned by
is interested in hiring O'Brien and giving him a new talk show.
But for now, O'Brien is in a sense, homeless; News Corp executives admitted that no serious negotiations had taken place yet, according to
Certainly if the program-people can show us that we could do it, and be fairly confident of making a profit on it, wed do it in a flash, News Corps chief Rupert Murdoch said in a media conference call discussing News Corps second quarter, according to
Certainly if News Corp felt that OBrien could bring in a lot of dough, he could probably expect to be well compensated as News Corp can probably afford to so. Rumors have been circulating that executives at the conglomerates hit Fox show
would be willing to offer
a pay package commensurate with his current $100 million a year salary at
when he leaves the show at the end of the season.
So thats the latest update on OBrien. Some might say that while he waits to hear back from News Corp, he might as well take a vacation. With all that new money in his bank, he can certainly afford to do so. Also, NBC frees him to pursue other opportunities only after September 1.
While many of his industry peers have taken OBriens side during the whole debacle, Jay Leno has generated quite a bit of ill-will.
following the cancellation of
The Jay Leno Show,
Leno has been labeled a bully; recently he tried to clear his name on
The Oprah Winfrey Show
by portraying himself as a victim.
David Letterman, meanwhile, strongly benefited from the scandal.
The Tonight Show
ratings slid after O'Brien picked up the helm, and Letterman claimed the #1 spot in the time slot. Letterman has certainly been deriving a lot of pleasure from making fun of NBC and Jay Leno amid the whole debacle.
But back to the
Conan O'Brienwas the real winner in the farce, according to readers, winning more than 37% of the votes. More than 18% of voters however felt that there were no winners. Letterman came in next with slightly more than 17% of the votes.
The rest of the votes were split between Fox, NBC, CBS and Jay Leno, who received slightly more than 12% of the votes. Fox and News Corp took 8.6%; NBC, GE and
, took 3.1% and CBS obtained 3.2% of the votes.
-- Reported by Andrea Tse in New York
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