Patterico's Pontifications


Conan O’Brien’s “Bonus”

Filed under: Government,Obama — DRJ @ 5:02 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Reports say NBC will pay Conan O’Brien $40M to sever their contractual relationship.

NBC’s parent company, GE — through its lending division, GE Capital — is the beneficiary of a $139B federal bailout. As President-elect, Obama called on bankers to forgo their multi-million dollar bonuses to show they are taking responsibility and making sacrifices in difficult economic times. As President, Obama was outraged when AIG paid hefty contractually-authorized bonuses after receiving federal bailout money.

But this time the recipient is Conan O’Brien, a celebrity, and the employer is GE/NBC and Jeffrey Immelt — noted Obama backers. Where’s the outrage, Mr. President?


21 Responses to “Conan O’Brien’s “Bonus””

  1. Because this is not a bonus. They decided it would be worth more to them to pay Conan to release his contract with him and put Leno in is spot then to continue the status quo. A questionable decision, but a business decision nonetheless. This post seems silly to me.

    Elhaym (73bbf1)

  2. If Conan was a banker, he would be evil. But since he works for the sycophantic mouthpiece Immelt, no big deal.

    JD (3399c0)

  3. This post seems silly to me.

    Comment by Elhaym


    Oh man. It’s a windfall he didn’t earn for results he didn’t product. Conan’s show didn’t do well, and Conan had 17 years to prove himself.

    Of course there’s a distinction to be made. That’s why it’s an amusing and interesting comparison. It wouldn’t be if it were exactly the same.

    FWIW, I am a Conan fan. Monorail Simpsons episode? I hope both he and Leno find a better home. With cable, they have no one to blame but themselves if they do not.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  4. #1, if this is not a bonus, then please explain how the AIG payouts were.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  5. GE and NBC have very strict budgets, and the company is unforgiving of managers who miss financial targets.

    The unexpected and unbudgeted $40 million NBC must pay to Conan will be made up by cuts elsewhere. Even if NBC were rolling in money, they would still cut staff, capital spending or both to meet their budget. Look for layoffs….enough to make up $40 million, plus the cost of rebuilding their 10 pm lineup.

    Ex-NBC guy (cda07a)

  6. Elhaym, legally, this was as much of a “bonus” as contractual compensation for AIG execs was.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  7. This really is a dumb post. I didn’t realize our president was supposed to use his power to influence NBC’s late night lineup. Aren’t republicans in favor of limited government? Or are you officially taking the stance that you are against whatever the president does or doesnt do based on his political party? Silly me, you’ve already answered that question with this awful post. Don’t answer the question, I already have enough information.

    Intelliology (00d844)

  8. #5- Correct. Recall the layoffs just to keep ‘Seinfeld’ on another season. Others will pay for bad management but Zucker doing his hummina-hummina Ralph Kramden on Charlie Rose was revealing.

    More to the point, three weeks into January NBCU announced a $200 million loss on the Winter Olympics before a single event has been telecast and is proposing a $40 million payout to O’Brien to let him out of his contract. Almost a quarter billion dollars flowing out of NBCU thanks to Ebersol and Zucker. And it’s only January 19! Only 11 more months in the year, boys.

    DCSCA (9d1bb3)

  9. Guess he won’t need a loan mod due to the layoff.

    Patricia (b05e7f)

  10. I’m still waiting for Obama’s outrage over Sarah Lawrence ballet major and former Arby’s meatcutter Rahm Emanuel’s $16-20M in three years or less as an “investment banker” at a branch office of at Wasserstein Perella.

    Holding my breath on that one.


    Beldar (c630a7)

  11. Intelliology,

    The point is to show Obama is inconsistent … but you knew that.

    DRJ (84a0c3)

  12. #1, if this is not a bonus, then please explain how the AIG payouts were.

    I actually agree with the guy. This is more of a contract buy-out. They are handing him money, and saying “That contract you have with us? Yeah, that’s done now. Go somewhere else.”

    If they were keeping him around, THAT would make this a bonus. This is just paying off the balance and sending him on his way.

    Scott Jacobs (d027b8)

  13. Maybe, Elli May & Intel-NOT-inside, the point of the post is that GE should never have been given a bailout in the first place!

    Icy Texan (9815c8)

  14. Comment by DRJ — 1/19/2010 @ 10:39 pm

    Mr. President,

    Could you please bring back the hit comedy “Step by Step” starring Patrick Duffy? I hear that you are being asked to make such decisions in the spirit of consistency.


    A concerned GOP voter

    Intelliology (00d844)

  15. Intel, don’t be dense. If NBC wants to pay Conan the big bucks that is their business. The same as, if AIG wants to pay their execs the big bucks that is also their business. However, if our government wants to take our money and give it to these companies so that they can then turn right around and give it to these non-producers, we the taxpayers need to be concerned. Why try to prop up such a business if that is the type of decisions they are making? That Mr. Obama complains about some of these practices and not others was just pointed out as being inconsistent.

    Thomas (b7fe33)

  16. Intelliology, pretending you don’t understand DRJ’s point is just stupid trolling. Telling DRJ her post is “dumb” with this act of yours is just a juvenile little insult. Grow up.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  17. There actually is a concrete consistency to what this gangster administration-machine does. It’s about Chrysler dealership owners who supported Obama keeping their shares and the others being robbed…it’s about Martha Coakley supporting Clinton instead of Obama and paying for it, it’s about destroying military personnel who dare attempt to do their jobs and protect U.S. citizens from homegrown jihadists because it doesn’t line up with dictates from counterinterlligence agents in CAIRE working with our Gov’t agencies…it’s about painting himself to be the “Robin Hood for the Poor” by fanning the flames of class envy about bonuses while he “bows” to Hollywood marxists millionaires. Yes, the thread weaves with a pattern…

    Kate (7f5b4d)

  18. Comment by SPQR — 1/20/2010 @ 8:10 am

    So you’re saying NBC should not be setting their own tv lineups? You apparently would like a government takeover of all networks (save Fox)?

    Intelliology (00d844)

  19. “So you’re saying NBC should not be setting their own tv lineups? You apparently would like a government takeover of all networks (save Fox)?”

    What the hell? That simply isn’t related at all to what SPQR actually said. I have no idea where you’re getting your interpretations.

    Are you fluent in English? Is your computer functioning properly?

    If you have to make up someone’s position to argue against the strawman, just give it up.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  20. No comment.

    The Emperor (633f27)

  21. Douchebagiology has proven from its first comment that bad-faith is its standard operating procedure.

    JD (5acd54)

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