Conan O'Brien Pays Staff During Strike

Posted on November 30, 2007

Late night talk show host Conan O'Brien is paying the salaries of his production staff out of his own pocket during the writers' strike.
O'Brien, host of NBC's "Late Night With Conan O'Brien" will cover the salaries of his nonwriting production staff -- nearly 80 people -- for the foreseeable future, an NBC Universal spokeswoman confirmed. O'Brien will foot the payroll bill starting next week, barring a resolution in the WGA work stoppage, which wrapped its 25th day on Thursday.

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Like David Letterman at CBS, O'Brien made the decision to step up in a big way to take care of those who help him put on the show every night. But unlike Letterman, who owns his "Late Show," Craig Ferguson's "Late Late Show" and the Worldwide Pants production banner that employs those staffers, O'Brien is tapping his own bank account to save NBC U employees on a Peacock-owned show from getting the ax, even temporarily. O'Brien's gesture to his staff comes as his own eight-figure salary has been suspended since the strike forced his show to halt production.

O'Brien is understood to be motivated by the deep sense of loyalty that many of his staffers have shown him over the years -- and probably will continue to after he relocates from Gotham to the West Coast in 2009 to take over "The Tonight Show.
Conan is a good guy and is well-liked. Carson Daly, on the other hand, has infuriated many by crossing the picket line to continue taping his late night show.

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