Conan O’Brien Pays Staff Out-of-Pocket?

by | February 2, 2010 at 2:46 PM | The Tonight Show, TV News

Conan O'Brien (NBC)

Conan O'Brien (NBC)

Conan O’Brien may have lost the late-night battle, but he just might be winning the good-will war.

The comedian garnered massive public support during the late-night fiasco with Jay Leno and NBC in January, and he received kudos for exiting ‘The Tonight Show‘ stage with his head held high instead of his tail between his legs.

Now CoCo is keeping it classy by taking care of the staff members who were left out of NBC’s severance deal. According to TMZ, the entertainer has offered to pay an estimated 50 staffers six-weeks worth of severance from his own pocket.

O’Brien left NBC a far richer man than when he started, thanks in large part to the $45 million the peacock network handed him when they reinstalled Leno as ‘Tonight Show’ host. That figure covered much of O’Brien’s remaining contract and threw in severance for key staffers, like the ‘Tonight Show’ band. O’Brien’s stagehands, however, were left out in the cold and walked away without a job or extra dough to help them through their unexpected unemployment.

It’s also a shrewd move that endears O’Brien in the eyes of their union, IATSE Local 33, which said they are “very happy” about the host’s decision. That will no doubt make it far easier for O’Brien to build a new team should he ever return to the airwaves.