The next time you hear a liberal complain about the severance package for some Wall Street fat cat, considering the following example of "golden parachutes" outside the corporate suite.
In this case, the firm about to pay through the nose isn't an investment bank, or a brokerage house--it's a television network. We refer to NBC, which is trying to resolve its late-night programming disaster. Earlier this afternoon, Tonight Show host Conan O'Brien announced that he would not accept his show's move to 12:05 a.m. (as NBC suggested), clearing Jay Leno's return to his old 11:35 timeslot.
With that decision, Mr. O'Brien is all-but-certain to leave the network, triggering his "escape clause." According to entertainment sources, Conan will receive up to $28 million, the remaining value of his contract with NBC. The final figure is subject to negotiation, but Mr. O'Brien is represented by a team of heavyweight Hollywood lawyers; for pushing Conan out of the host's chair, NBC will pay a staggering price.
Maybe that's why O'Brien told fans not to worry about him. That eight-figure payday should be enough to tide him over until he signs a new deal with Fox or ABC.
So where's the outrage? When a failed exec gets a big payout, the libs are normally enraged. And, Mr. O'Brien is an executive; his production company (Conaco) produces Tonight for NBC. During his tenure, the program lost an estimated 2 million viewers and ad revenues declined, impacting the network's bottom line. Apparently, Conan has something in common with other failures in the business world.
But, because he's a media favorite--and labors in the entertainment industry--Mr. O'Brien will (apparently) be spared the criticism leveled at fired business execs. Another double-standard? You decide.