Source: Deal near for O'Brien to leave `Tonight'

In this combo made from file photos, NBC talk show personalities, from left, Jay Leno, Conan O'Brien, and Jimmy Fallon are shown. NBC decided to end the Jay Leno experiment when some of its affiliates started talking about dropping the nightly prime-time show, NBC Universal Television Entertainment Chairman Jeff Gaspin said Sunday, Jan. 10, 2010. NBC wants Leno to do an 11:35 p.m. show each night, and Gaspin has proposed moving Conan O'Brien's "Tonight" show to 12:05 a.m., and Jimmy Fallon's show would start an hour later. (AP File Photos)

January 15, 2010 7:49:40 PM PST
NBC is nearing a deal with "Tonight" host Conan O'Brien to leave the network, freeing Jay Leno to reclaim the late-night show he stewarded for 17 years.

A person familiar with the negotiations says top NBC Universal executives and representatives for O'Brien on Friday were close to settling details of his departure. The person, who did not have the authority to discuss the issue, spoke on condition of anonymity.

The person says Universal Studios president and COO Ron Meyer is among those involved in the talks.

The focus is on how much O'Brien, who has time left on his NBC contract, would be paid for leaving and what limits NBC may put on his future employment at another network.