Conan O'Brien's guest list hints at exit
LOS ANGELES – In the strongest indication yet that Friday indeed will mark Conan O'Brien's final "Tonight Show," a list of the booked guests for the rest of this week released Tuesday featured Will Ferrell set to appear Friday.
Ferrell, of course, was the first guest on "The Tonight Show With Conan O'Brien" when the show launched June 1.
It has become somewhat of a tradition on "Tonight." Jay Leno's first guest in 1992, Billy Crystal, guested on what was supposed to be the talk show host's second-to-last "Tonight Show" episode in May. (Leno is now set to return as "Tonight" host March 1.) The reason why Crystal didn't appear on the very last episode was that, in a demonstration of what was billed as a seamless transition, Leno's guest then was Conan O'Brien.
It is safe to say that there is zero chance O'Brien would return the favor.
Other big names scheduled for O'Brien's final week on "Tonight": Tuesday, January 19: Quentin Tarantino, Paul Bettany and musical guest Spoon; Wednesday, January 20: Adam Sandler, Joel McHale and musical guest Joss Stone; Thursday, January 21: Robin Williams and musical guest Barry Manilow; Friday, January 22: Tom Hanks, Ferrell.
As for the official announcement of O'Brien's exit and Leno's return to "Tonight," it was delayed again Tuesday as the two sides have not settled yet on the size of the severance packages of the "Tonight" staff.