Conan O'Brien's exit deal pushed again

Thu Jan 21, 2010 2:25am EST
 
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By Nellie Andreeva

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - It seems Conan O'Brien will be officially under contract with NBC almost until his last "Tonight Show" on Friday.

In what has become a daily game of "Are We There Yet?," the final signoff on O'Brien's exit settlement with the network on Wednesday was pushed yet again, this time (almost) absolutely, positively, to Thursday. The fine print in question continues to be severance protection for the "Tonight" staff who moved with O'Brien to Los Angeles from New York.

Meanwhile, the imminent departure agrees very well with O'Brien. His jokes are sharper, and his ratings are through the roof. In the local market "overnight ratings for Tuesday night, he scored a 1.9 rating in the key adults 18-49 demographic, crushing CBS' "Late Show With David Letterman" (0.7)

And in his opening monologue Wednesday night, he lobbed such zingers as "I should have known something was up when NBC sent me that 2010 calendar that only went up to January."