Negotiations continued Friday to settle his contract, but no outcome was expected Friday, according to one participant in the talks cited by the Times.
A meeting was scheduled between the two sides for Saturday morning, another executive with knowledge of the talks told the Times Friday night.
The two sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal was not final, said a settlement was getting close, with agreement on many of the basic details.
The Times said O'Brien, whose salary has been reported at $10 million to $20 million annually, will get a settlement of $25 million to $30 million. And he gets to start a new show elsewhere, maybe as early as September, the paper said.
Earlier Friday, The Wrap reported that O'Brien's deal was done and would be announced before the day was out. But the two executives who talked to the Times said that was incorrect.
An NBC spokesperson denied TheWrap report, and a source close to O'Brien's camp told TVGuide.com: "It's news to us."
All of the acrimony, of course, stems from NBC's reported intention to move Jay Leno from 10 p.m. back to 11:35, and have The Tonight Show start at 12:05.
What's next for O'Brien?
While Fox Entertainment President Kevin Reilly has expressed his "love" for O'Brien, News Corp. executives including Roger Ailes, who oversees the Fox's local TV stations as well as the Fox News Channel, talked to the Los Angeles Times about waiting to see the numbers on what such a move would cost. It's unclear how readily the Fox stations could clear their late-night lineups of the syndicated shows that are moneymakers for them.
If Fox doesn't grab him, his prospects become iffier.
The CW certainly wouldn't seem eager to jump into the late-night business. Premium cable outlets such as HBO, Showtime and Starz typically don't do daily shows like Conan's.