We keep expecting to hear an official announcement regarding Conan O'Brien's departure from NBC, but so far, nothing of the sort has been released. However, all signs point to Friday as O'Brien's last day as host of The Tonight Show.
O'Brien himself made a joke on his show last night about being "three days away from the biggest drinking binge in history." And quite telling is O'Brien's guest list for this week, which has become far more star studded. Wednesday's show has Adam Sandler, plus Joel McHale and Joss Stone; Thursday has Robin Williams and Barry Manilow; and Friday has Tom Hanks and Will Ferrell. Sandler, Williams, Hanks and Ferrell are all appearing without a major new project to promote which is in line with them simply wanting to lend their support to O'Brien in his last few episodes.
The Hollywood Reporter notes that Ferrell is likely appearing in a nod to a tradition on The Tonight Show of having a first guest appear again at the end of a host's run, such as Billy Crystal. Crystal was the first guest on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and then appeared on the second-to-last Leno Tonight Show last year. However, Leno's very last guest was O'Brien himself, in what was meant to be a passing the torch moment but as the Reporter remarks, no one is holding their breath for O'Brien to invite Leno on his final show, as Leno prepares to take The Tonight Show back.
The Reporter reiterates that NBC and O'Brien worked out the terms of O'Brien's compensation last weekend, but that one reason for the holdup is coming to terms on payments from NBC for the rest of the The Tonight Show crew. O'Brien will obviously have more than enough money to tide him over and then some, but the same cannot be said for all those working on The Tonight Show - many of whom relocated from New York to Los Angeles to stay with O'Brien. It's expected that O'Brien's settlement with NBC will allow him to begin a new series elsewhere as early as September, and everyone will be waiting to see if FOX does indeed make him an offer to begin a competing late night series.