As Much As I Love Conan...'s tough to pity a guy who's getting $32.5 million to, well, leave.
Conan O'Brien is close to signing a nearly $40 million deal to walk away from his job hosting NBC's "The Tonight Show," in a new move that will also award severance pay to his employees, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.

The deal, which has been fiercely negotiated for the last week, will give O'Brien $32.5 million to go on garden leave until September. This would prevent him from hosting any other TV shows if he pockets the cash, but gives him an option to sign other deals.

The remaining $7.5 million will go in severance pay to about 200 of Conan's "Tonight Show" employees after they expressed outrage about the prospect of going penniless, reports said.

O'Brien decided to leave NBC after executives said they would push his show to a slot after midnight (EST) in favor of the Jay Leno Show.

The exit agreement, which could be completed as early as Tuesday, bars O'Brien from bad-mouthing his former NBC bosses.
No bad-mouthing NBC? So, what's he going to talk about?

Postscript: While I think that Conan is funnier than Leno, it seems that Jay is still a classy guy. Go to the Post's link and check out the monologue that he did last night... good stuff.