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Will NBC Cut Conan Loose Today?

NBC is finally tired of all this crappy PR and they'd like to resolve their Conan problem by today's end, reports Nikki Finke. Though Jeff Zucker yesterday threatened to keep O'Brien off the air without pay until 2013 over his refusal to host a postmidnight Tonight Show, it now seems likely his settlement will include a pile of money and permission to appear on another network someday, possibly even before the Mayan apocalypse. The Daily Beast's Kim Masters says a deal's been mostly agreed upon (thanks in large part to Universal Studios president Ron Meyer, who brokered the thing), and that a resolution ultimately came down to the size of the payout, which remains a secret for now.

In a related story, Conan has been called "chicken-hearted," "gutless," and an "astounding failure" in the New York Times by NBC Sports chairman Dick Ebersol, the guy about to preside over the network's first-ever money-losing winter Olympics.

Secret Negotiator Revealed; To What Degree Will NBC Or Team Conan Blink? [DHD]
Conan's Exit Confirmed [Daily Beast]
Executive Leaps to Leno’s Defense [NYT]

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