Conan O'Brien: Mary Ellen Matthews/Celebrity Pix/Corbis Outline
October 15, 2004 at 04:00 AM EDT

How Conan O’Brien gained power in 2004

AGE 41

Insiders say ABC and Fox were salivating at the prospect of luring O’Brien from NBC and kick-starting their own late-night dynasties. Instead of taking the money and running, O’Brien secured a new deal with the Peacock (a full year before his contract expired) that will give him the most hallowed chair on TV: host of The Tonight Show. See you in 2009.

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