It's all over but the joking. NBC confirmed early today (Thursday) that it had reached a deal under which Conan O'Brien will leave the network after his final Tonight show on Friday. Reports indicated that he will receive $32 million and his staff, $12 million. "In the end, Conan was appreciative of the steps NBC made to take care of his staff and crew, and decided to supplement the severance they were getting out of his own pocket," his manager, Gavin Polone, told The Wall Street Journal . "Now he just wants to get back on the air as quickly as possible." The exit deal will allow him to do so after eight months, the reports indicated. It will also allow NBC to reinstall Jay Leno as host of The Tonight Show on March 1 following NBC's coverage of the Winter Olympics. But several TV writers have commented that he will be returning as "damaged goods" -- as someone who undermined O'Brien while failing to succeed in primetime. Leno apparently did not help his cause with an attack on David Letterman Wednesday night that several writers described as "below the belt." After noting that Letterman had been "hammering" him in his nightly monologue, he commented, "You know the best way to get Letterman to ignore you? Marry him. He will not bother you. He won't look you in the eye."

21/01/2010