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Conan O'Brien settlement negotiations continue

January 19, 2010 |  4:56 pm

While the main issues with Conan O'Brien have been sorted out, lawyers have spent the last two days haggling with NBC over severance packages for staff members of "The Tonight Show." About 190 people will lose their jobs when O'Brien signs off for the last time as host of the legendary program.

O'Brien's final night on "The Tonight Show" is expected to be Friday. As part of his negotiations, the 46-year-old comedian has demanded that the network compensate many of his staff members, according to people close to the negotiations who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss the matter. About 40 to 50 people moved to Los Angeles from New York last year to work on the show when O'Brien relocated coasts. Another 15 to 20 came on their own.

ConanAn announcement of a settlement had been expected by now, but it looks like the messy O'Brien-NBC divorce won't be finalized until tomorrow -- at the earliest, according to people who are close to the talks.

The overall amount that NBC will have to pay will be about $40 million, according to two people. But a third knowledgeable person expects that the total tab will likely run to slightly above $50 million by the time NBC finishes writing all the severance checks.

-- Meg James

Photo Credit:  NBC/Paul Drinkwater