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Conan Talks Hit Snag Over Staff Severance

Hopes of an announcement today fade as both sides battle over money for laid-off “Tonight Show” staffers

The war of words between NBC and Conan O’Brien’s camp is flaring up again, with O’Brien’s exit agreement now likely to be pushed until Wednesday.

Last-minute talks over severance packages for employees is apparently causing some final headaches as both sides finish the deal. That delay caused O’Brien’s manager, Gavin Polone, to explain the situation to the New York Times Tuesday.

“It’s the same thing that’s going on all over the country when people are put out of work. We’re fighting to do better for them," Polone told the Times’ Bill Carter, who could emerge as the second biggest winner in this whole thing in 18 months when his previously reported sequel to "The Late Shift" hits bookstores.

NBC isn’t having any of that. It issued a response blaming O’Brien for putting his staffers out of work.

“It was Conan’s decision to leave NBC that resulted in nearly 200 of his staffers being out of work," a spokesman told TheWrap. "We have already agreed to pay millions of dollars to compensate every one of them. This latest posturing is nothing more than a PR ploy.”

Insiders in both camps back up a report on Variety.com that there likely won’t be a deal announcement until Wednesday — though as the endless reporting on a "done deal" has shown, anything is possible with this mess.