Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Double Standard (Golden Parachute Edition)

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.


Chris said...

Aw.......c'mon already! "Left media." Uh, isn't that why O'Reilly and company are in business...to provide a counter to the "left media?"

I may be wrong, but I don't hear Fox News pundits screaming about this one. Hell, maybe after reading your post, they will. But until then, I think you ought to reconsider having your last sentence in your post. It sullies an otherwise well-written missive.

popantipop said...

I think you have this one wrong. Conan had a proven track record before he moved to this slot. NBC engaged him in a contract and promised him a few years to grow the show. NBC backed out of the deal before he fully had the time to develop the show. Conan deserves to have most of his contract paid out because of that. I would send this around to my friends as I do think you make great points but I think your focus on the liberal part of it waters down your argument and takes a smart post and turns it into just some bashing. Leave the bashing to Rush. Your blog is too good for that.

Unknown said...

And there's usually not much hand-wringing about how much major sports figures pull down. Even though the public indirectly subsidizes their salaries in many cases through public financing of stadiums and arenas. The public seems to buy the meritocracy of sports and entertainment, and disparate salaries in same, but not in business generally.

RPB said...

Conan's contract and show do not predicate on the forced payment of hundreds of billions of taxpayers' dollars and the guaranteed back stop of many trillions more.