Jay Leno on 'Oprah': Admits to lying, ridicules Conan's 'Tonight Show': This is damage control?

In a fascinating display of self-pity and hubris, Jay Leno went on Oprah today and really let loose: He said that the plan to return him to The Tonight Show was “a huge mess,” that he’d been “sucker-punched” by Jimmy Kimmel, that he’d lied when he told the public in 2004 he would retire when he left The Tonight Show in 2009, and that there’s “a lot of damage control that has to be done now.” Believe me: There’ll be even more to be done after this Oprah interview.

Jay Leno admitted to Oprah Winfrey that “I told a white lie on the air” when he said in 2004 he’d retire after he left the Tonight Show in 2009. “It was just maybe easier that way.” He said he “assumed” he’d just get a job at another network.

Oprah observed: “Conan said he thought it would be destructive to the franchise” for him to agree to the plan for The Tonight Show appear at 12:05, after an 11:35 

Leno show. “Well, if you look at where [Conan’s Tonight Show] ratings were” — and here he paused for comic-sarcastic effect — “it was already destructive to the franchise… This was the first time in the 60-year history of The Tonight Show that The Tonight Show would have lost money.” Leno also said, “I hope Conan gets a job somewhere.” Whatta competitor, that Jay!

There were some fascinating exchanges between Oprah and Jay, who sounded as though he thought Winfrey was going to be more sympathetic than she proved to be. Winfrey said, “David Letterman called you, I think, the ‘Big Jaw’ Leno… and you hit back by talking about his infidelity.” 

Leno said, “Well, I did a joke about that, yes.” 

”Even the audience went, ‘Ooo!'” noted Winfrey. 

”But it was a good joke,” squeaked Leno. “Did you laugh when you heard it?”

“No,” said Oprah firmly, “I did not. I did not laugh. You know what, I thought that was beneath you.” 

Leno tried to defend himself. “But how many jokes like that have I done? I did one joke in the middle of the week and I never did another one. I had a cheap shot thrown at me, I threw one cheap shot back and I moved on.”

 Oprah asked, “So you thought one cheap shot deserves another?” 

Leno said, “Yeah, it’s OK.” Then 
Oprah asked, “Do you feel you’re being unfairly portrayed by the media?”

 Leno said, “Yeah, I think so.”

Amazing figure: A poll conducted on Oprah.com found that 96% of Winfrey’s audience was on Conan’s side in this “mess.”

Leno continues to make much of the idea that he didn’t turn down the 10 p.m. Jay Leno Show offer because he didn’t want to put his staff out of work: “You say to the 170 people who work here, ‘Listen, I don’t want to get my reputation ruined, I don’t want anyone talking bad about me. I’ve got enough money. You people can all fend for yourself.’ That’s… the selfish thing to do.” Yet when Winfrey brought up the number of people who were put out of work on the 10 p.m. scripted shows that were either cancelled or never put into production by NBC because the Leno Show took up a prime-time slot five nights a week, he said feebly, “I wasn’t thinking about that at the time.” Come on. This was a point being brought up in the media almost as soon as the Leno Show was announced.

There was a darkly humorous moment when Oprah asked him if he thought NBC could have handled this better. “Anything they did would have been better than this… If they had come in and shot everybody, it would have been ‘Oh, people were murdered,’ but at least it would have been a two-day story. NBC could not have handled it worse. From 2004 onward, this whole thing was a huge mess.”

When Jimmy Kimmel came on the Leno Show Jan. 14 and used that “10 @ 10″ segment to blast Leno, Jay told Winfrey he felt “sucker-punched.” He said he could have “edited it” out, but “when you get sucker-punched, you get right back up again. You don’t whine or complain.”

Still, Leno did his share of whining on Oprah. “It was really agonizing. I would spend a lot of time just thinking about it, going, ‘I think I’m a good guy. Am I a good guy?'”

What do you think? Did you watch?

Follow me on Twitter @kentucker

Comments (1126 total) Add your comment
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  • skiiboski

    I think Jay and Tracy Flick (think “Election”) would make an awesome couple.

    • doctorevil

      that would be a disservice to tracy- she deserves better! i love that movie

      • skiiboski

        sorry doctorevil. I like Tracy as well, but they do have a lot in common. Ruthless is as ruthless does or some nonsense like that.

        p.s., summer in Rangoon this year?

      • Stan

        Yeah, true! Tracy was a megalomaniacal, intense, power-hungry allegory for the current political system. Jay’s a whore!

      • whatever dude

        If he were ruthless, he wouldn’t have let NBC and Conan bounce him from HIS job as host of the Tonight Show because of his age. He was too passive in the whole thing, while Conan was the pushy and ruthless one.

      • jordan

        I find it very revealing that EW treats Leno like this, but hails David Letterman.

      • Heather Hice

        to whatever dude – Conan didn’t bounce Jay out of anything – Jay decided to turn the show over to Conan and announced it 5 years in advance…no one forced him to do anything – he said he was retiring then boom, he’s on the air before Conan…again…Jay will NEVER recover from this…and I’m laughing gleefully.

      • WEIRD_guy

        I like to pick my ear and taste the wax on my fingers

      • john doe

        whatever dude…you are an idiot. Good day

      • dacky

        I busta gut laughing when Leno told Oprah I did only 1 joke ’bout Letterman- Leno drew first blood weeks ago with “..so I’ve been cancelled from 10pm and I DIDN”T EVEN GET TO SLEEP W MY INTERNS!!!” Wat a comic genuis! That opened Dave up 2 go at him- he hadn’t said ANYTHING up 2 this point. Also- REALLY JAY, you thought Conan would be just dandy with pushing the Tonight 2 12:05??? REALLLLLY??? You got a used Rolls u wanna sell w that snakeoil???

      • saywhat

        Heather Hice, didn’t you see the interview? Jay was forced to announce that he was leaving the Tonight Show 5 years ago. He didn’t want to do it. NBC forced him to do so because Conan was due to renew his contract and had said he was not going to renew if he didn’t get a promise of the Tonight Show within 5 years. Who do you know would want to bow out when their show is NO 1? Jay was No 1. He was not ready to retire.

      • Matthew.

        Jordan said: “I find it very revealing that EW treats Leno like this, but hails David Letterman.”

        It’s not just interesting, it’s absolutely crazy. Dave Letterman, bless his soul, has made a career off infidelity jokes!

      • Alexey

        Jay Z was right. No one is afraid of 50 Cent. His music isn’t as good as Jay Z’s and no one with a brain ebileves that he’s a tough guy. 50 Cent has his image and his fan base. He should stick to that and let the big boys handle everything else.

    • shawshank

      Rarely do I see a first comment that is so profound.

      • Ambient Lite

        It was kind of a treat, wasn’t it?

      • Lily

        Whoa, skiiboski, brilliant. Leno & Tracy Flick. Perfect. Both liars who will stab anybody in the back to get what they want. Right on.

      • Erin S

        weird guy—you just made me snort raw pudding through my nose

      • Fan-tastic

        To Erin S. Weird guy posts this same pearl of wisdom frequently. lol…its awesome.

      • Gabby

        Yeah, but the difference is that Tracy Flick was kind of awesome.

      • SouthernBelleNEwOrleans

        Conan is a whiny ass. He should have just moved to 12 mid and shut up. For God’s sake Conan makes more in 1 year than anyone replying on this site will make their entire lives. For that kind money I’d strip naked fat as I am and do the show. Shut up Conan – you were goint to make a fanastatic salary and now you aren’t and staff is unemploye – all for what – YOUR ego.!

    • kellybelly

      I think Leno had every right to joke about Letterman’s infidelity. Why not? He’s the least attacking of all the late night hosts anyway.

      • deb

        Get over Letterman’s affair – who cares? Leno could never even have an affair! For Leno to deny that he had any options or choices or sway in what transpired is pure lunacy, and for him to think we believe him is just plain disgusting!

      • ck

        @kellybelly: Really? I mean Letterman makes fun of guys having affairs all the time and if it was just a joke against Letterman I could say that’s his comeuppance, but his joke was sort of a dig at Letterman’s wife. Aside from being outside of all this late-night mess, she was the one hurt by Letterman’s actions. I don’t think any of the late night hosts attacked anyone else that was outside the conflict. I think that is what really doesn’t sit well with people.

      • AH

        Leno didn’t joke about “Letterman’s infidelity.” He took a shot at Letterman’s wife. What he said was cruel.

      • Dolly

        You’re right. He was wrong to take a crack at Lettermans’ wife. And to lied to Oprah about only making one joke.

      • Lay Jeno

        The joke was clearly about Letterman, it just happened to mention his wife. Leno should have been smart enough though to realize stupid people would think it was a crack about Letterman’s wife.

      • Von Raschke’s Claw

        Leno is also smart enough to realize that stupid people will still watch his show.

      • Colin

        The “joke” was about Letterman, not his wife.

      • Ann

        I agree that Jay has spared no one in his jokes but he is NOT mean spirited.
        This is my first time reading Ken Tucker’s commentary and now I know why. His opinion is clearly against Jay Leno and the whole commentary is slanted that way. I would also expect that the majority of other people’s comments here would follow the same line of thought. I personally feel Jay has been mistreated by the press and Conan has been undeservedly treated as the martyr. I hate the way things went down for Conan, but he was bitterly stinging in his jabs at NBC and even at Jay once, despite the fact that NBC has backed and promoted Conan for years and down to this day. Conan appears to me to be the cry baby who pulled a tantrum and put all his crew out of work.(talk about throwing the baby out with the bath water!) He was only thinking about himself. His crew got pennies in compensation compared to Conan. Conan would have still had the “Tonight” show and his crew would still be gainfully employed had he gone along with the NBC plan. He may not have liked it, just as Jay didn’t like what was offered to him, but Conan still would have had “his show”. Conan showed another side of himself that I didn’t know was there. I am totally disappointed in his reaction. This whole situation has been a total mess. Jay Leno has been the “good guy” for years and a ratings leader. That’s why he’s such a target now. Sadly, many people are very vindictive and shallow.

      • cjsamms

        Those particular comments from Letterman that Jay was responding to were about the NBC fiasco and Jay’s “Don’t blame Conan’s fault” spin backtracking on what he said a day earlier. All Letterman did was, “It’s not Conan’s fault” in an ironic way. And of course, he beat it to death all night.

        Letterman did not make any comments about Jay’s personal life. Leno, on the other hand, admits that his was a cheap shot in response to what he believed was a cheap shot. Which shows that Leno doesn’t know the difference between humor and cheap shots. Hell, even Oprah, who was more like Jay’s apologist during the “After Show,” saw through it for what it was — a cheap shot.

      • bud

        The joke was not about Letterman’s wife. The joke was that – if you were married to Letterman – then you would be ignored (meaning ANYBODY). I can’t believe all you numbskulls can’t get the simplest joke. American just keeps getting more stupid.

      • nresq

        Hey Ann: How long have you and Jay been going out? Jeez…

      • MSNY

        We shouldn’t blame Jay for the lame joke about Dave Letterman. Jay hasn’t written a joke in years – he just reads them.

        I’m glad Kimmel is pounding him. Jay IS the joke now.

      • Emma

        Letterman was joking about 14 year-old girl and the girl wasn’t even attacking him in a joke. That’s much much gross and not even funny.

      • zimzim

        It was not OK because it brought Letterman’s wife into the fray. What Letterman said about Jay was about Jay. Leave the families out of it.

    • Jay the Phony

      Too true! A pair of treacherous, smiley-faced weasels. They can’t even be honest with themselves.
      The best part is that Leno has no real life outside of his screwy little fantasy world, in which he’s just doing his job and everybody else ‘forces’ him to do questionable things. But he wants us to know that he really meant well. Aww, what a guy!
      Seriously, it’s pathological. Leno fits the description of a classic passive-aggressive nutjob. Check out the official textbook entry, especially the ‘Niebuhrian / Horneyan explanation’ halfway down that page.:


      And don’t miss the (long) list of ‘False Goods & Bads’ that are typical for people with this condition. I think it explains a lot of what we’ve seen, for the past couple weeks. :)

    • jared4ever

      That was an inspired comment skiiboski. :)

    • junierizzle

      His excuse of “oh I if I quit then everyone that works for me is out of a job” is too easy.
      Its no ones responsiblity to worry about other people losing their job. So is Jay just phoning it in everynight?? Just so his people can work. Give me a break.
      His other excuse about how “Conan’s ratings were bad” is also too easy. Especially when JAY is the main reason that prevented Conan from getting the best possible ratings.
      I used to think that this was all NBC’s fault. But now I think its JAY’s. He admitted that he told a “white lie” about retiring.
      He should have said back in 04 that he didn’t want to quit. I’m sure Conan and all his staff would have appreciated that before they moved across the country.
      I love how Oprah called him on how he could have just did what CONAN did and make a deal for himself and his crew. Jay didn’t know what to say.
      Yeah JAY, you did it for your workers. Righ, wink wink.

      • Lay Jeno

        I think his best move would have been to say no to doing the 10:00 show every night. It should have only been on once a week and it could have been better and they could have made a bigger deal about it.

      • Get A Q

        I agree. He should have been moved to Thursday (Comedy) night.

      • Linda

        “He should have said back in 04 that he didn’t want to quit.”

        What nobody on this board or any other boards seems to remember is that Jay DID take it back in 2004. Within a few months after saying that he would “retire” (and that was to retire from the Tonight Show, NOT show business), which Jay didn’t want to do in the first place, Jay told NBC that he did not want to go along with their plan since the show was No. 1. He wanted to stay on and for them to work out something else with Conan. It was all over the news how Jay was in negotiations with NBC in 2004 to keep The Tonight Show. I remember him mentioning things in his monologue about how there were still negotiations going on and that the future of The Tonight Show was not set as people had thought. NBC refused. Jay then asked to be let go from his contract so he could go to another network. NBC refused that because they were afraid that he would be a competitor and beat them in the ratings since he had been #1 for so many years. In order to keep Jay happy, they came up with this Primetime show, which Jay had said over and over that he didn’t think that it would work. He even said that he thought one or two nights a week would have been better but this is what NBC wanted. Jay has nothing against Conan. They had always been friends. He just wasn’t ready to give up the Tonight Show at the time NBC wanted and this was all talked about IN 2004. There was no last minute change of mind after 5 years.

        Also, yes it was because of Jay’s show that Conan got poor ratings. I agree that Conan should have been given more time. BUT Conan had three months before Jay’s show started and his ratings were poor then. What I think NBC should have done was reduce Jay to once a week since they wouldn’t release him from his contract, give Conan at least five to eight more months and see how Conan’s ratings were then. If they didn’t improve, then do this whole switch. NBC just messed the whole thing up from the beginning.

      • I’mjustsayin’

        Remember too that Jay was the only late night host who did not pay his staff and crew during the writers strike. Jay disappeared for 2 months when Kimmel, Stewart, Dave and Conan were paying their out of work employees. It wasnt until one staffer at Leno called TMZ to rat him out. Jay acts like he is generous, but he is clearly not. Even when he did pay the staff, it was just the Christmas bonuses that were coming anyway. Nothing extra. I know, I have many friends who worked there.

      • Lay Jeno

        You’re delusional Linda. First of all NBC had already made a deal with Conan when they told Jay the show was going to him in 2009. Second of all, what percentage of people (especially Conan’s audience) stay on one channel from 10:00 through the evening news to the Tonight Show? I’m sure it happens but it’s not the majority, it’s the 60+ crowd.

      • dacky

        Meanwhile Little Jimmmy Fallon sits under his desk repeating “thank god their not talking about me…thank god their not talking about me…can I come out now jeffrey???”

      • @Linda

        Jay admitted that he lied. End of story, you could have saved all that typing.

      • nresq

        Gee whiz, Linda. You sure know lots of stuff about lots of things. Don’t get mad, but I think you’re making it all up.

      • LP

        People fail to remember that Jay Leno’s Tonight Show was not #1 from the beginning. It took him over three years to land that #1 spot. Jay had the luxury of having show’s like “ER” and “Law & Order” at their peeks leading him to victory; and of course, the Hugh Grant scandal sealed the deal. Conan was never given the same opportunity, not even Kanye West. Conan’s lead-in became Leno again, essentially moving The Late Show with Conan O’Brien to 11:30, and stealing his thunder.

        Of course, it was all part of Leno’s and NBC’s master plan. Conan got duped.

      • Carrie

        Of course he didn’t just do it for his employees! That’s silly.

      • huston3

        For those of you who don’t think jay gives a damn about his employees, see what he did during the writers’ strike. Jay’s no saint, but he’s swimming in a tank oa pirannahs who planned to screw him earlier, and he got Tonight despsite everything (read The Late Shift). Jay works for his money, and he deserves what he gets. If Conan wasn’t treacherous enough to snatch it from him, well, mebbe Fox.

      • Linda

        Then you must be delusional too, Lay Jeno, because I agreed with you that Jay should have been on only once a week. I also agreed that Conan should have been given more time. Sure the deal was done with Conan. I’m just saying that Jay complained back in 2004 that he wanted to keep the Tonight Show not at the last minute here like some people suggested. The reason he “lied” and said he was going to retire from the show is because it looks strange to tell all your viewers that you have been fired when you’re No. 1. He was trying to make it easier.

        nresq–What lots of stuff? I just was talking about how it was in the news back in 2004 that Jay wanted to stay with the show and it wasn’t two weeks ago. And yes, that was after Jay told everyone he would pass it onto Conan. Sheesh! All NBC had to do was let Jay keep the show until his contract was up and THEN give it to Conan. There would have been no problems. Conan would have had the show and Jay would have been free to go wherever he liked.

    • jacquie Downen

      What other big star in Hollywood has ever stopped to help someone stuck on the freeway. Jay Leno is the best anyway you slice it. Give us a break. Lady “O” Needs to llghten up. Feel guilty about what. Did Conan feel quilty takening the show away from Jay. I don’t think so.

      • Skip182

        Hmm, seeing as how you’re the only person on the board who’s supporting Leno…I wonder if you were lucky enough to recieve some free Leno publicity on the side of the highway. What a life treat for you.

      • maddhat5

        We all know Oprah is a super keen Letterman fan, so no wonder she would stick up for him. Leno all the way!!

      • stephanie

        Actually, maddhat5, Oprah has been close to Leno for years. If anything, she would be inclined to favor him over Letterman. Her comments to him suggest a friend who is speaking to a friend, i.e. “you’re better than that.”

      • JunieGirl

        Uh…Tom Cruise, Harrison Ford…lots of stars have gone above-and-beyond to help people in crisis. Freeway? Meh. Conan didn’t “take” the show away from Jay…NBC did, just like they took it away from Johnny.

      • Andy

        I agree Jacquie. If Conan O’Brien is so great, why did people turn off the Tonight Show when he took over? Six million people a night were use to watching the Tonight Show. Six months later it was down to two million.

      • Rich

        How does one feel “quilty”? How do you “taken” anything away? Are you one of Jay’s writers??

      • jo


      • Sue

        People need to realize that Conan’s ratings were not great because of a domino effect that started with Jay. Jay’s terrible ratings caused local news in some huge markets like Los Angeles to lose 40% or more of their viewers from when there was 10 pm programming. If the news is losing 40% of their viewers of course Conan will lose viewers too.

      • Mac

        Jay is not the devil in all this…the media has made him out to be. And all of you are buying into it,

      • realitynow

        Yeah, a guy who many people had never heard of was strong arming Jay to leave. Think Jay had a little more clout at NBC than Conan, don’t you think? Jay had years to say “I don’t want to leave, lets make another deal”.

        For the first 4 years with Jay as host, his ratings were shit. It took Hugh Grant to get a bj to get people to watch. Conan was given 7 months…..Jay had many options. Kimmel gave Jay exactly what he deserved.

      • Get Real!!!!!!!

        Jay is a money grubbing selfish liar. He is living in a fantasy world if he really thinks the lies he told Oprah would fly with everyone. He was speechless “Dah” when she pointed out the reality of HOW MANY PEOPLE really lost jobs Because of his show at ten and it was way more than his staff. He already knew that liar. Come on people Jay Leno is full of it and full of himself. “Oh I bank what the show brings in and I live on what I make as a comedian”. PLLLLLP! He is so full of it. I do like when Jay said he didn’t know how he wanted to handle his feelings about all this and Oprah said “were you gonna just take a ride in one of your cars” LOL! It is not so much about Conan any more but now more about what kinda low character Jay Leno really is.

      • Coco Fan

        Conan didn’t TAKE the show from Jay. NBC PROMISED him the show to keep him under the thumb of NBC when his contract expired. NBC is simply greedy. They wanted to have their cake an eat it too. In the process they have ruined their ratings, alienated affiliates and advertisers, cost them tons of money and thier reputations and potentially ruined the careers of 2 people who have made their network a lot of money over the past 20 years. Conan EARNED the Tonight Show. As did David Letterman 17 years ago. Turned out to be a blessing in disguise for him!!

      • Janiece

        GO LENO!!! Thank GOD someone else has the right mind to know what is actually happening. Jay Leno did nothing wrong. Conan was the stupidest man on TV. NBC made the mistake of promising Conan the Tonight Show 5 years ago. Conan was happy then to push Leno out. It just happens Jay Leno was #1 and then NBC was sorry to have to follow thru with their promise to Conan. Conan could never hold the audience Leno had. Conan is stupid. LENO is GREAT!! Where were all these Conan fans when he was on the Tonight Show. He had no audience. You guys that are for Conan are Stupid!!!!

      • BlackIrish4094

        Joe Girardi (manager of the Yankees) stopped on the highway to help a broken down motorist on the NIGHT HE WON THE WORLD SERIES. So really, no big deal if Jay did help someone like that (it’s a nice thing but doesn;t mean he’s still the d-bag in this situation).

      • BlackIrish4094

        Sorry grammar error. Doesn’t mean he still ISN’T the d-bad in this situation.

      • @Sue

        Not defending Leno (or Conan or anyone else here) but the Tonight Show’s ratings under Conan tanked BEFORE Leno’s prime time show debuted. Yeah, Leno’s ratings didn’t help, and certainly are a much greater factor in the local news shows’ declined, but Conan was doing a great job of bleeding viewers all on his own.

      • Linda

        To: GET REAL!!!–” ‘Oh I bank what the show brings in and I live on what I make as a comedian’.
        PLLLLLP! He is so full of it.”

        That’s true that he does bank on what the show brings in! I read an article about Jay before 2004, before this whole current mess started. It said that in the number of years (10 or 11 at the time) that Jay had done The Tonight Show he had not touched one cent of any of that money. He only lived on the money he made as a standup comedian. I remember being really surprised by that statement and from what he just said on Oprah, I guess he still has not used any of that money. He gives a lot of it to charity, but the money he uses for himself comes from his gigs on the road.

      • LiterateAmerican

        In 1992, 7 months in to The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, it was low in the ratings, considered a huge failure and did not turn around until 1995 when a certain Hugh Grant was on the show and the OJ trial was the main fodder. It is not fair for Leno to forget how dismal his show was to begin with, but then again NBC gave him time to blossom. If only Conan were given the same chance.

      • nresq

        Linda, are you a Leno stalker? You sure seem to know a LOT about him and his financial affairs. Or on his flack’s payroll?

      • Linda

        I happened to read one article, ONE article on the guy in a respected magazine, BTW, not a tabloid mag, and now I know all about his financial affairs? I have no idea what he makes. I only know that I read that he hasn’t touched the money he earned from the Tonight show. Oprah’s show was not the first I have heard that. You’re the one that seems to be stalking me and my posts.

    • css

      the problem was caused by NBC. not jay or conan. NBC took the tonight show away from jay even though it was #1 the last week he had it. conan would also reasonably accept the new job. but ratings determine the outcome and in this case, that is the reason NBC took conans new job away again. otherwise, they would have told JAY it was over, and would have paid TO KEEP CONAN, NOT GET RID OF HIM. it is not jay lenos fault, it is not conans fault. dont feel too bad for him since he walked away with 30 million for just himself. poor out of work guy. his sympathy will get him another large paycheck job

      • offmom

        Payout to Conan = $42 million
        Payout to Leno (if NBC backed out of his NEW two year contract) = $150 million (http://tvbythenumbers.com/2010/01/20/conan-obrien-40-million-cheaper-to-boot-than-jay-leno-150-million/39434)

      • realitynow

        That money is not for just himself. He is paying his staff, who moved across the country. You see, Conan has something called integrity. Jay was cancelled. So enjoy watching Jay make fun of people’s intelligence with his dumb quizzes and laughing at the stupidity of regular Americans on the street. He’s a creep.

      • It’s also partly Leno’s fault

        It’s true NBC caused this big mess in the first place. However, if Leno put his foot (or chin) down when the NBC suits asked him if he could step down after five years to give way to Conan, then none of this brouhaha would have happened. If Leno was man enough to say no to the plan in 2004, what would the NBC suits do? Fire him? Of course not since Leno was tops in late night, ratings wise. Had Leno nixed that plan in 2004, then Conan would be on another network with his own show. So it’s also Leno’s fault for being too chicken to stand his ground and telling that “white lie”.

      • Lay Jeno

        How could Jay put his foot down? They had already signed a contract with Conan giving him the show in 2009 when they went to Jay. He didn’t have a choice in the matter.

      • moparmike

        I agree with you Offmom. And the truth is that the Tonight Show should have never been taken away from Jay. The show was #1 and the NCO wizbangs took away from Jay and gave to Conan. I watched the first show with Conan….it was also the last show. And now the NBC wizbangs realize what a stupid mistake it was. Everyone should just lay off Jay, this is all business. Jay, Conan, Dave, and all of them understand this, it’s all about ratings, and about money.
        Personally, I’m looking forward to seeing back where he belongs…on the Tonight Show. I wish him well. And as far as Conan is concerned, I wish him well and am sure he’ll have a show real soon.

    • Mike in Moncton

      That’s funny, three days ago I said exactly that same thing!

    • jo

      jay leno had a # 1 show conan thought hed step in and take it—now he crys

      • kevin

        I dont think i remember conan asking NBC to give te Tonight show to him. im pretty sure they decided that on their own.

      • Walter Kovacs

        Conan asked to either be promised the Tonight Show, or he wanted to move on with his career to another network. NBC did not want him going somewhere else, so they went to Jay and asked him to step down in 5 years. Jay lied, saying he would RETIRE, when he actually thought he’d just go somewhere else.

        Fast forward 5 years, Jay doesn’t want to retire, but NBC, in the same mindset as they had in doing whatever they could to keep Conan, decide to make this 10 PM show offer. So, in order to keep Conan, they get Leno to promise to step aside and let Conan stand on his own two feet, and then because Leno lied about wanting to leave, they end up putting Leno on before Conan anyway.

        If Leno had not lied about wanting to retire at 60, none of this would have happened. If NBC had been forced to choose between Leno and Conan in 2004, they would have made their decision, and moved on, with the party that didn’t win going to another network and that would be that. Had Jay kept his promise to retire, he wouldn’t have been talked back into hosting a new show twice by NBC … they only did that because Jay wanted to go to another network. Considering that Jay loves doing stand up … wouldn’t not having to do the Tonight Show give him a lot more time to do that?

        Based on what was revealed during this interview, it is even more Leno’s fault than originally believed. Conan may have been selfish, in that he had an idea of what he wanted to do with his career. He didn’t want to be the second fiddle show “after Leno” anymore, so he made an ultimatum to NBC when his contract was being renewed to let him know if he should stay at NBC and replace Jay when he’s gone, or if he should leave now while he is still young enough to try and build a franchise of his own. When he was given the job, he was given only a small ammount of time before he was “after Leno” (with a break for news) again, and when they were going to make him “after Leno” (but half an hour earlier) he said no. However, unlke Jay, he didn’t lie about it. He was up front about what he wanted, and stood by his position. Jay was passive-aggressive, lying to NBC, and thus making NBC into liars as a result, and ultimately wasting Conan’s time by saying he was willing to retire and step out of the way for Conan when he (a) didn’t want to and (b) fully intended on just going off and doing a new show, which almost assuredly would have been programmed against Conan, and assuming (without actually telling NBC this) that NBC would be perfectly happy to just Leno go and compete directly with his replacement.

      • Elizabeth

        I love uninformed statements…

      • BlackIrish4094

        Yo Walter Kovacs, STFU!!! You wanna suck Jay’s infantilepenis go ahead but spare us your 40 page diatribe. Where are the character limits when you need them.

      • Linda

        Walter–Jay didn’t say he was going to “retire” from show business. He said he would “retire” from The Tonight Show. That was his way of being suttle that he was actually fired from the show because NBC wanted to push Conan into that spot. And that was only because Conan whined that he would move to another network if they didn’t give him the show. Stupid NBC in giving into his tantrum. Within a few months, Jay decided to stand up to NBC and told them that he didn’t want to leave so they should either keep him on the show or release him from his contract. More negotiations. NBC didn’t want to release him but they didn’t want to get rid of Conan either. They came up with this stupid way the last seven months has gone. If they would have left Jay on The Tonight Show until his contract was up and then make the switch, not renewing Jay’s contract, there wouldn’t have been all this fuss. NBC was afraid that Jay would go someplace else and beat them in competition the same as they were afraid to lose Conan to another network. NBC made a big mess of this whole thing after Conan made his ultimatum.

      • Linda

        Walter K–I forgot to mention that if Leno HAD wanted to retire at 60, then he got screwed again as he had just turned 59 a few weeks before his last Tonight Show. NBC owes him a year of The Tonight Show, according to your statement. Jay is not the retiring type. He is a workaholic.

      • ani

        at BlackIrish4094. You’re filthy rudeness is uncalled for. If you bothered to read his “40 page diatribe”, you’d realize that he would rather stomp on jay’s microgenitalia than suck on it. you illiterate idiot.

      • rose

        Jo and Linda are right.
        Conan and his people started this whole thing when they made NBC promise him the Tonight Show in 5 years. And Conan took the Tonight Show and made it into The Infanticide Show and his ratings sucked. I wish I could get paid for acting like a baby for years and years.

      • nresq

        Linda: There you go again! What is the basis for your statement that Jay only intended to “retire” from the Tonight Show? You then conveniently skip the 4 years after Jay “stood up” to NBC (again, how do you know this?) and the recent events. From Day 1 (5 years ago) Conan’s contract had a “pay or play” clause that would cost NBC $40M if Conan didn’t take over–done based on Leno’s agreement to retire after 5 years. Why make it into something different and create some distorted reality just because you sympathize with Leno?

      • bigal

        If you can’t get the ratings you can’t have the show/

      • Linda

        My basis is that Jay is a workaholic (he doesn’t take vacations) and because I read the news (as it seems certain people don’t) and remember Jay was trying to get negotiations going again. He never planned to “retire” altogether but it was his way of saying he was leaving the Tonight Show. It was a poor choice of words because Jay even said that he was going to do other things. Yes, Conan had the deal but Jay’s contract wasn’t up and it was just stupid of NBC to not wait to make the switch when Jay’s contract was up. ABC was willing to take Jay and put him in place of Nightline but NBC didn’t want to lose him. If Conan could only have waited one more year, but he threatened to leave and NBC didn’t want to lose him either. They tried to have it both ways and that didn’t work. I sympathize with Conan not having the same chance as Jay had when he first started. This whole thing was just done the wrong way. I’m not conveniently skipping the last 4 years because there is nothing else to tell in there. Recent events are just that both had bad ratings and NBC should have either changed the lineup (putting Jay on once a week) or let Jay go and leave Conan to do The Tonight Show. Jay was willing to leave. NBC wouldn’t let him go for fear he would go to another network.

    • joe

      Go to Oprah’s website, and watch what she did with the audience after the show. She sat there trying to change EVERYONES mind about Jay. Didn’t surprise me, but Conan supporters should watch her use her “influence” to sway her audience for her friend Jay.

      • The Captain

        What’s worse, Joe, is that she calls it a “debate.” Good grief.


      • Debi

        Joe you’re 100% right. So does that mean all those Jay supporters should have watched Jay as well and then maybe his numbers would have been up as well. I watched that online and she really did try and convince her audience poor Jay was hoodwinked. B…S… That interview had no impact on my feelings. Just reinforced it.

    • Chenbot 2.0

      And Jay Leno and Brett Favre would make an intolerable couple — someone get a hook to drag both these hem-hawers off the stage.

      Jay just looks worse and worse the more he tries to justify it. I don’t think he can even swallow the load anymore or face himself in the mirror.

      • BlackIrish4094

        They would be so happy together…

      • Tou

        My cousin and I have been saying the exact same thing for weeks. The moment the Vikings were driving in the 4th quarter of the NFC championship game for the win, and Favre threw a last second interception, I knew Jay would be headed towards a rude awakening on his “new” Tonight Show.

        I don’t doubt Jay’s a good guy in some respects, but in this situation.. he ‘dooched’ it up.

    • WEIRD_guy

      I like to pick my ear and taste the wax on my fingers.

      • BlackIrish4094

        Maybe you can post this same post another fifty times on different stories. Get a life, loser.

      • WEIRD_guy

        How about…

        I like to comb the hair between my ass cheeks.

    • ZRob

      Funny I just watched Election the other night. Incredible movie!

      • BlackIrish4094

        Actually a totally overrated movie but ok, thanks for sharing.

    • joel

      Leno is a terrible,selfish man,and no body like this guy anymore.

    • baz

      This is on NBC’s head. I don’t think it’s Leno’s or Conan’s fault or responsibility. That said… Conan obviously knew the risks of taking over for the very popular Leno. But Conan came out with $45Million out of the whole thing… and he’s free to work. They are both comedians so anything goes with the dialogues. As for Letterman, why should he be spared? He is mean and ruthless on a daily basis. F him. Jay rules in my world.

    • ZeeZee

      Getting a little sick of the Conan lovers. He is not funny and hasn’t been for a long time. If you did as poorly at your job and he as doing at his you would be fired – or cancelled – just like he was. Did you all miss that explanation in the interview – or the many other explanations by the TV executives and such? Conan was being fired and they needed someone to fill the position – so they asked the last, best person to fill it. Good for Jay! At least he is funny and can tell a joke. Was it the best situation? No. Was it the best handling of it? No. Will Conan get another job? I hope not. Lets move on…

  • maiv

    yeah…i still think you shouldn’t call conan, jay….

    • Quirky

      It would as bad as one of Tiger Wood’s mistresses calling up his wife to ask if everything is OK.

      • DeLiRon

        Breanna, Oprah did invite Conan to her show. He declined saying the time wasn’t right. I agree with your description of the interview. I’m really disappointed in Jay Leno. It was all about him. What a narcissist.

      • doverz

        Actually, that’s not true. Conan is prohibited for 3 months for giving any interviews. He couldn’t be on Oprah right now even if he wanted to.

      • Amy

        LOL!! Right!

      • maiv

        I’m pretty sure we’ll see some interviews when he’s promoting his new show (i’m sure he’ll get one) in the fall. And as for timing, I agree that fresh is best, but I think it’s a little too late now.

    • Ambient Lite

      I think of it as, if someone you worked with and knew well, a longtime colleague, got canned, wouldn’t you reach out to them, let them know you’re sorry for them, thinking of them, something??

      • IAA Louie and Mark

        Not so much when you are kind of the reason they got fired. Even if you weren’t the reason – if you are taking their place……No, not so much. It’s all about timing. When Conan gets a new show and is doing well, that’s the time to make up. Not now. It’s like any relationship aftermath – the key is Time and Distance. (Emotional Distance – not physical, though….that might help too)

      • Ambient Lite

        See, I always think the quicker the better. Call, send a note – reach out when it’s fresh. But I understand what you’re saying. Unfortunately, Leno will likely do neither of these things.

      • JunieGirl

        Jay didn’t even acknowledge Johnny Carson when he took over the Tonight Show…does anyone really expect him to show more class with Conan?

      • Lay Jeno

        Junie, you are a moron.

      • lay jeno’s mom

        No lay jeno….that would be you. He did not thank Carson on his first show. Get off Leno’s cock and remove yourself from the gene pool, already. Or, do you know what ‘genes’ are, you idiot? Yeah, you must be a Leno fan.

  • alan

    Ken, I’m pretty sure “The Tonight Show” would have been on at 12:05 and the Jay Leno Show at 1135. I think that’s what Leno meant [about not asking for the Tonight Show after Conan left].

    • @Alan

      Don’t bother Ken has already made up his mind what side he falls on and getting the facts right when they benifit Conan is not important to him.

    • ani

      no, Jay only asked to have the Tonight Show time changed thereby changing its legacy and essentially turning it into the Late Show given that it would be after Jay’s own talk show. You’re right. He didn’t ask for much at all. What a bastard Conan is for respecting his dream job and his fellow coworkers who had done nothing to deserve being pushed back into oblivion.

  • Breanna

    Good. I’m glad all of America will get to see Jay Leno in all of his self-pitying-lashing-out-at-everyone-else-megalomaniac glory! Conan has taken the high road throughout all of this mess (will he get an Oprah invite next? Probably not). Jay was at the top when he walked away in May 2009. Now, he’s sunken to new lows both personally and professionally. Bye bye, Jay!

    • caryn

      Oprah did say that Conan was also invited but chose not to come on the show since it was too soon. She also said she would like to have him be on her show at some point.

      • Amy

        Stupid Oprah should know that COCO is prohibited from making any such appearances.

      • tony i

        do you work for NBC legal team ?
        i think not

    • i’m a lady

      She said at the end of the show that she invited him, and he said it was not the right time, so she left the invitation open.

      • Chenbot 2.0

        Which means that in 3 months when Conan gets his own show, the subject will come up AGAIN, Conan will be able to speak and as long as he doesn’t look like a narcissistic creep making excuses, he will come away classy yet again and dredge up creepy Jay all over again to get hammered by Dave and outed in the media as a creep! Yippee!

    • Quirky

      Some news sites were reporting that part of Conan’s severance agreement was that he’s not allowed to do interviews at this time. However, I’ve never seen that actually confirmed anywhere yet.

      • LiterateAmerican

        Conan is not allowed according to his deal with NBC to star on any show for 7 months.

      • Pedro

        Have you tried logging in? There are trcuenrly no inactive users on the forum. Your registration may not have made it to the approval point if you skipped something on the registration. If you did it got marked as spam by the system. You will need to do another registration if you are not able to log in. Accounts are approved several times a day.

    • Antonio

      Conan took the high road? Acting like a spoiled brat & trying to spend as much of NBC’s money as possible his last week knowing the tragedy happening in Haiti? I never liked Jay but I have always thought Conan was an egotist – every interview was centered around him not the person being interviewed. He got what he deserved!

      • Amanda

        Conan’s bit about spending money was a joke! Lighten up.

      • Dave Fan

        You do know that was all fake, right?

      • Anon Y. Mouse

        Are you referring to the sports car, the “Mine That Bird” in a mink Snuggie, etc., when you speak of spending the network’s money? I am staggered by the idea that someone actually thought those were real. It was a joke, you tool. And for those who really believed it, he even SAID on the last night that it was all a put-on. What, you thought they actually found an original Picasso to spray with Beluga caviar? No wonder Conan’s numbers were low, if you are an example of the brainpower out there.

      • teamcoc

        are you an idiot, he never spent any of nbc’s money for the car, the horse or the picasso you moron, he said it on his last show, and he talked about the situation in haiti, if you dont believe me, go to hulu and watch his last tonight show, dumbass

      • bdoll

        you do realise that spending money thing was a joke right?

      • Ambient Lite

        Oh, this is fantastic! Love imagining Antonio telling people he knows about that jerk Conan, ruining a REAL Picasso with caviar, blowing $65 million. Thanks Antonio, I needed a good laugh.

      • Amanda

        Not only was the spending money bit a complete joke & fake as could be, Antonio, if you had actually watched Conan in his last couple weeks, he took a moment EVERY single night to mention that all of this controversy was just showbusiness foolishness & prompted his viewers to donate to Haiti!!

      • MattyB

        That was just a skit, Antonio. And Conan actually brought up the need for donations to the Haiti relief effort a number of times throughout his final episodes.

      • Chandler

        Those bits were fake. He even said so on the last one. He also heavily promoted relief organizations on his last shows since the tragedy happened.

      • Amy

        Antonio, did you ACTUALLY watch the show? Conan even said it was all fake. And Conan will get what he deserves when he lands at a network that will appreciate him.

      • Cathy


      • Blerg


      • cheryl

        Hey, Antonio, how stupid are you? You do know there’s no santa…right?

      • Wapcaplet

        Someone this witless must be a Leno viewer.

      • junierizzle

        The spending money skits were fAKE!!jeez, lol.
        COnan even said they were fake.
        Too funny, u think those were real.

      • tinister

        LOL. All those gags about spending NBC money were jokes. Come on – ruining a real Picasso?


      • Yaman

        He has a show to run that was being taken away from him for stupid reasons… and handled it better than i would, but guess what Conan has class and not a greedy ba***ard LIKE JAY who’s will reveal what a f**cking ass he really is when he’s back on air.

      • Conan

        Dear Internet, Antonio is an idiot. Love Conan.

      • KC

        Dear Internet,
        Conan he spend too much money!

      • vja

        Some people don’t get it … and i do mean you.

      • ck

        LOVE the ‘Dear Internet’ remarks to this comment. I can imagine Antonio, who obviously never watched the show, sitting in his pizza stained shirt typing ‘Dear Internet, I’m outraged!….’

      • Dolly

        Antonio, you’re being sarcastic, right? You had to know those bits were jokes.

      • PMD

        I am not really sure how you got the impression that Conan’s interviews were all about him. Even on his last interview with Tom Hanks he spoke of Tom’s upcoming projects!

        I can’t wait to see you on Jaywalking making an absolute ass out of yourself.

      • PMD

        Oh wait, let me re-phrase that… I will not be watching The Tonight Show with Jay Leno because it will basically suck. But I am sure all the other idiots watching will get a real kick of watching an idiot like you being made fun of by a jackass like Leno.

      • jcjcjc

        Antonio, don’t be a moron. Did you not watch the final show, where he screamed “NONE OF THIS WAS REAL, PEOPLE!” and then proceeded to make fun of every person who thinks he actually shot caviar at a one of a kind Picasso…etc

      • jcjcjc

        Also, hey. Hands off Conan in this situation. This is the second time Jay Leno has been involved in an imbroligo over the Tonight Show. Lightning doesn’t strike twice, buckwheat–his hands are NOT clean here. Leno’s “victim” routine didn’t work back then, and it shouldn’t work now.

        Recall the mess back in 1991/92 when the idiots at NBC and Mr. Leno pulled the same craptastic treatment on Letterman. LETTERMAN deserved that show after Johnny. When he didn’t get it, he took a more valuable gig on CBS, and kicked Jay’s arse until Hugh Grant took his walk on the wild side. Then America became brain-dead, apparently. NBC and Lantern Jaw should have been HONEST in 2004, and given Conan that same opportunity…if Jay didn’t want to give up TTS, he should have said so and NBC should have let Conan leave and kick his a$$ from another network.

        This whole thing was an experiment, which I think was all about Univ-NBC/GE cookin the books so things looked rosy for the latest buyer. (You do know they were sold during Jay’s great 10pm run, right?!) Paying Jay $100mil was cheaper than keeping hundreds and hundreds of actors, writers, and crew on the payroll for scripted dramas. They slashed and burned, knowing full well that they could always dump Conan to make their lapdog happy.

        NBC should be ashamed. But Leno should be MORE ashamed. Twice, Jay. TWICE you pulled this victim routine and slit the throat of someone in your way. Too bad Helen Kushnick is dead and you can’t blame HER again.

        I cannot wait for the next HBO movie about Jay’s antics, but in the meantime, I hope they pull their 1992 film “THE LATE SHOW” out of mothballs soon–it is suddenly very relevant again!

      • jcjcjc

        D’OH! The Late Shift! Sorry. All worked up over this!

      • Janiece

        Antonio…you are absolutely correct. Conan is very egotistical. He has never had to want for anything in his life. That is why he could not believe he didn’t have his way with NBC. He is very wealthy already. Born to wealth..his father a Doctor, and he went to Yale, and came straight out of college and had some pull to get a good job. I can’t stand the dope. Most of the people remarking on this are either young and stupid or rich and stupid.

      • Lay Jeno

        Conan went to Harvard not Yale.

      • LiterateAmerican

        Oh Antonio,
        Conan used every night on the last week of the show to promote and help donate to Haiti. He helped to raise quite a bit of money for Ben Stillers Haiti Foundation.
        Janiece, are you jealous that Conan received a good education? That he was one of the most talented writers on SNL and The Simpsons? That NBC chose HIM over well known names to take over Letterman? Just because his father was a doctor, means nothing. Conan worked hard to get to where he is now. Ask people like Tom Hanks,Will Ferrell and anyone at The Simpsons. A Yale education can get you far, but hard work and determination get you to the top, like O’Brien. Lastly, your comment at the end is neither bright nor astute. I think you may have a problem with people who have money. That’s a shame as jealousy is a nasty trait.

    • Brian

      At the end of the Jay interview, the show cuts to Oprah in her studio with a live audience who just watched it and she says, “So that was Jay’s side of the story. We’ve reached out to Conan’s people, and they said ‘It’s not the right time.’ So Conan, the offer still stands, when you are ready. I have a seat for you.”

      • Rhia

        Oprah seems to be acting the damage control for Jay. I believe Conan can’t make any interviews or any appearances until September.

    • Jay the Phony

      …and don’t forget passive-aggressive. Jay really is a textbook case of somebody who makes up a zillion nutty rules just so he can excuse his own behavior and make everyone else wrong.

      But don’t take my word for that. Check out the description of PAPD (Passive-Aggressive Personality Disorder) at the official bible of psychiatric diagnosis: DSM-IV.:


      Check out the subheading called ‘Niebuhrian / Horneyan explanation’…it’s about halfway down that page. Be sure to check out the (long) list of ‘False Goods & Bads’ typified in this pathology. Tell me if that list doesn’t describe Leno, to a T.

    • Andy

      How did Conan take the “high road?” By taking potshots?

      • Lay Jeno

        Conan (and Jay, and Dave, and Jimmy, and Craig for that matter) would have been fools to not use this whole thing as comic fodder. Don’t be glib.

  • doctorevil

    what a tool. get him oprah!

    • SB

      Leno is a douche. All he did in that interview was try to make it look like everything was NBC’s fault. He wouldn’t even take a single shred of responsibility for this disaster. Maybe it’s not 100% his fault, but he sure as hell didn’t help matters at all.

      Bottom line: Once again, Leno was always a douche, and he still is.

      Oh, and how classy is it of Conan to actually give things some time to settle before he runs off to Oprah? Leno should really take note.

      • marymary

        Amen! Leno is a douche now and forever! Team Coco rules!

      • Sue

        Agreed! Leno can’t even see past his ego that he had done anything wrong. I’m not saying that he is 100% wrong. Leno actually had the audacity to feel like he got “sucker punched” by Jimmy Kimmel. REally?!?!? Jimmy Kimmel is a smart @ss comedian did he really think that Jimmy would be sweet as a ice cream sundae? To me, that shows how out of touch Jay Leno really is. I am one person that will not be watching Jay Leno when he goes back to his stolen “Tonight Show”.

      • Linda

        Sue–Conan’s the one who stole the Tonight Show. If it wasn’t for him whining that he would walk if they didn’t give it to him, NBC wouldn’t have fired Jay while he was No. 1, forcing him to say he was “retiring” because you can’t tell people you were fired also not letting Jay out of his contract making him do this Primetime show because he still had a contract and they didn’t know what else to do. If NBC would have waited until Jay’s contract was up and then make the switch, this all might have been better but they were afraid to lose Jay to another network where he might have beaten Conan. Jay might not have, Conan might have surprised them but NBC didn’t want to take the chance. If Conan wouldn’t have acted so childish to NBC and if NBC would have stood up to Conan, this all wouldn’t have happened and Conan might be happy at another network doing his same show. Conan’s the thief here. I guess he found out what happens when you play with the big boys.

    • Amy

      Actually Oprah’s a tool too.

      • Skip182

        but next to Leno she’s nothing.

  • High on Celluloid

    I think this just proves how much of a douchebag Leno really is.

  • Jen

    Can we get some fact-checking on Leno’s claim that he never made another joke about Dave’s infidelity? Because I swear I’ve heard him make multiple jokes over the past couple weeks. It’s the only thing he’s come up with in response to Dave’s heckling and Oprah’s right, it’s not funny.

    • Sean

      Yes, he’s definitely made more than one joke about it. The lowest might have been when Chelsea Handler was on the show, and Jay made her sit on a bed with him in a fake cheap motel set they set up so she could read her book. He said something like (paraphrasing) “Does this remind anyone of another talk show host?” as if Dave has sleazy encounters in motels. Actually, that whole bit was very creepy; I think Jay just wanted to be in bed with Chelsea Handler.

      • Justa Notherguy

        Your paraphrase does Mr. Leno a disservice – he was far less subtle. During the Chelsea handler sketch, Leno said, ‘Actually, I got this idea from Letterman.’
        Watch the whole segment, here. Motel bit starts @9:30 mark

      • Wapcaplet

        Jay is known to be an asexual freak. His wife and him have seperate bedrooms. He’s in love with himself and only focused on his career.

      • ani

        his wife’s name is mavis. nuff said.

    • Cara

      He definitely made at LEAST two, I remember as well.

      First he said, “Even Dave Letterman taking shots at me. Which is a surprise. Usually he’s just taking shots at interns.”

      Then, I think the next night, he said, “Hey Kev, you know the best way to get Letterman to ignore you? Marry him. Okay, that’s the best way. He will not bother you. He won’t look you in the eye. No problem at all.”

      • junierizzle

        He did 3. He did a lame bit about Bing searches, the punchline was Letterman.

    • Ricky
    • Al

      Are you kidding me? Dave can joke for a decade about Bill Clinton but it’s out of bounds to joke when he does the same thing?

      • Jen

        I’m pretty sure Jay’s still making Lewinsky jokes. Apparently that’s the only kind of joke he has. And now he can alternate the jokes every night, swapping in either Dave or Clinton depending on the situation.

      • Q

        Dave was fair game – what’s lame is Jay lying about it. You made the jokes, don’t go on Oprah and try and take it back. Stand up for your material.

      • orville

        And putting it on the same level as being called “big jaw” was wrong too.

      • IAA Louie and Mark

        It’s not so much out of bounds when you joke about Dave. It’s just that you aren’t just joking about him – you are joking about his wife. He is not making dirty old man jokes – Not – He’s so old, what did he take to be able to do this jokes, or he’s not attractive how did this happen. You know, jokes only at Dave’s expense. He is not making dirty old man jokes, he is making adultery jokes. It’s a fine line, but it’s there and I think it’s a taste level thing. She is not in the public eye. Leave her out of it, she is embarrassed enough. Make fun of DAVE….leave her alone.

      • tinister

        Dave doesn’t give a s**T if people joke about him. No one said Dave was miffed.

      • Lay Jeno

        @ Orville, yeah that and “big jaw” aren’t on the same level. Jay’s condition he was born with, Dave’s condition was his own doing. Thinking of it that way, which do you think should be made fun of?

      • ani

        Jay’s condition involves him being a selfish boar who happens to have a big chin. Letterman would have made fun of Jay regardless of his physical attributes because the “man” deserves it.

  • Kevin

    I think Ken Tucker hates Leno as a person.

    • Tim

      That’s ok. I’m starting to hate Leno as a person too.

    • LIva

      I was thinking the same thing. Or Leno cut him off in traffic. Or he didn’t hire him as a staff writer back in the day. Some stick, some place.

      What Ken calls “whining” I call Jay answering Oprah’s question. Ken’s assessment here is way skewed; not what I watched anyway.

      • Joe

        If you didn’t watch, how do you know it wasn’t whining? You can’t tell how a person said something on a transcript – you need to actually watch it.

      • LIva

        @Joe – I did just finish watching the Oprah interview prior to reading this EW opinion piece. What Ken saw and reported on and what I saw were completely at odds.

        Ken’s got the privilege of communicating to an online audience and I’ve got the privilege of expressing an opinion in the comment section.

      • Blerg

        He was whining. He came off worse.

      • Dallas

        I thought Oprah delivered many low blows. Leno was not the bad guy. She asked him if was embarrassed, selfish, uncaring, and basically a bad guy. Pretty slanted interviewing, I’d say.

      • Skip182

        Leno was there to do damage control, otherwise known as putting his own slant on the interview. He didn’t get a softball interview like he’d hoped. Just like the rest of his life, he wasn’t prepared, winged it, and looked like an ass.

      • Sheena

        “Pretty slanted interviewing, I’d say.”

        ‘Duh’ comes to mind. It’s Oprah. What else could you possibly be expecting?

        Watching her show for journalistic integrity is about as stupid as expecting Jimmy Kimmel to keep his opinion to himself (that they didn’t foresee him telling off Jay on ’10 at 10′ astounds me).

      • tinister

        Leno did come off as self-serving and whining. He pretty much blamed everyone but him.

      • hc

        Um, if the dude comes on her show than he sort of should be prepared to answer some questions, no? I mean, it seems like he came on her show to do so image rehab expecting so softball questions and she didn’t give them to him. She’s not obligated to – her show is entertainment and she probably considers what some of she does journalism (I know, I know). I’m willing to bet he went to her for an interview, not the other way around, too. Leno, be prepared dude! You got served by Kimmel, learn your lesson!

    • Esme

      Who doesn’t hate Leno as a person? He’s a conniving, backstabbing, phony creep who’s finally getting the bad rep he deserves.

    • Ambient Lite

      Actually Kevin, Ken has been sympathetic to Leno in past articles.

    • Neil

      Well, it’s kind of hard not to. Leno is a truly hideous man.

      • kay41

        Hey man are you for real

    • jet

      Wait…Jay Leno is a person?

    • MaryJane

      I can see the dislike, too. Just like I can see it in many of these comments. I’m willing to bet that if any of you were in the same circumstances as Leno when NBC decided to give Conan the Tonight Show back in 2004 without consulting with him first, you wouldn’t be so judgmental about Leno now. You just never know what you will do until you walk a mile in someone else’s shoes, and anybody saying they KNOW they would act differently isn’t being truthful to themselves.

    • Amy

      And I LOVE Ken!

    • Chenbot 2.0

      I think Ken’s speaking for America here.

    • nacf

      Agreed. I’m starting to hate Ken.

      • Farid

        , and that many things that were said could have been said dfnefreitly. But remember the show was not written for us. The show was written for people who are comfortable buying meat and dairy, who think it’s healthy and nourishing, who may have cultural and family traditions surrounding its consumption, and who are probably addicted just as we once were. To have inspired such an audience to learn more and possibly to take action I applaud Oprah. The show didn’t need to inspire us to somehow become more vegan. The show needed to inspire omnivores to take their first chance on something very different, and it has succeeded in doing that. At some point when the rest of us have reached such celebrity status maybe some action of ours will inspire tens of thousands of people to buy a book about veganism. Even then, we vegans will have to speak in terms that the omnivores understand.

  • Quirky

    Popeater had a really good story about the entire Leno vs Letterman battle that really has me seeing Leno in a different light.


    It bugs me to see Leno try to be a victim here when at the end of the day he won the Tonight Show back and everything worked out in his favor.

  • Sean

    I haven’t watched the Oprah interview yet, but I’ve read all the excerpts, and I’m prepared for Jay’s spin. I’m glad if she really is a little tough on him, since she and Jay are friends — proving, I guess, that she doesn’t want to outrage her fans who DO think Leno is the villain. If she wanted to truly cover this whole subject thoroughly, then she would have to have asked Jay how he felt being in this situation NOW, compared with being in the “Conan” position in 1993, when he almost lost “Tonight” to Letterman. I hope she at least raised an eyebrow when Jay claimed NBC “wouldn’t let him” out of his contract when the 10pm show was cancelled, as he’s claimed several times. It’s called QUITTING, Jay — it CAN be done! Also, from the bits I’ve read, it seems like Leno calls the 2004 decision to “fire” him a “huge mess,” not the current mess. I hope this backfires on him; he really does seem to be tone-deaf about how to handle this, like his “Bing” gag on the show where he did a search for “redhead” and “overrated” and “millionaire” and came up with … Carrot Top! Har, har.

  • Kris

    Well I for one won’t ever watch Jay again. How anyone could watch that interview and still say Jay is a nice guy is beyond me. That interview proved everything I believed about him to be true, talk about having no remorse whatsoever and he takes no responsibility for his role in creating the situation. I hope this attempt at damage control is the last nail in his career coffin.

    • Cass

      Up until this point I’ve been giving Jay the benefit of the doubt. I wasn’t on his side but I didn’t blame him for anything I looked to the network execs for most of my blame. Jay really implicated himself in a lot of this and I now have a lot more to blame him for.

      • mari

        Nobody seems to comprehend that Conan walks off with forty million dollars. Poor Conan!

      • Ell

        Um…that was the settlement for Conan AND his staff, wasn’t it? And he has a pretty big staff…Not that 40 million isn’t a whole heck of a lot to be split many many ways…Anyway, this isn’t about money in the first place.

      • Sheena


        If your employer screwed you out of your dream job, I’m pretty sure you’d want to take them for all they were worth too.

        No one is forgetting the money he got. It’s the being forced off of the show he’d worked his butt off for that people object to. If he’d been given the choice of taking the $40 mil or keep doing the show at it’s proper time, he’d have taken the show.

      • tinister

        NBC owed Conan that amount for the rest of his contract (four years). It’s pretty telling that NBC (and Leno) now say that Conan’s ratings was the reason for him being pushed out: then why did NBC pay Conan for the remaining years on his contract?

        Answer: because NBC knows that the whole ratings issue with Conan was BS. Any time a new host takes over for a long-standing host the ratings will dip drastically for a while. It happened with Jay when he took over from Carson.

        NBC paid Conan to avoid getting sued because Conan did nothing to deserve being canned.

      • Yaman

        Yeah but for Conan it’s not about the money. He’s a very grounded person who’s won’t compromise and I’ve learned a lot from watching him since i was 10.

      • erin

        Wasn’t it cheaper to buy out Conan’s contract than Jay’s? I heard it would have been $150 million for Jay’s while Conan’s was only $40 million. And did anyone else notice how Conan plugged donating for relief for Haiti every night while Jay mentioned it maybe once in the same amount of time. What a greedy jerk.

  • Tad

    Oprah should worry about how fat she is instead of picking on Jay Leno, SHE IS A COW!

    • Jen

      And this pretty much sums up Jay’s intended audience.

      • LD

        Love you Jen!

      • Mark

        well played Jen, well played!

      • Catherine

        Nice one, Jen!

      • S

        I never reply to these things, but I had to say, this made me laugh out loud. Too true!

      • MattyB

        Thank you for replying perfectly to that idiot. Sending big applause your way.

      • Amy

        Jen’s in the house! woo woo!

      • Violet

        Agree with the others: well played, Jen.

      • Yaman

        loll so true

    • Kate

      What an insightful and useful comment. I wonder what you look like, but don’t really care. You could be gorgeous, but you sound like a creep.

      • MaryJane

        Kate is so right. Talking about how one looks is ridiculous. I’ll bet many of those making nasty comments about it look worst than any monster that’s ever been seen in any movie. Stop casting stones.

    • Chandler

      Thanks, Jen! Perfect reply!

    • tinister

      Nice going Tad. Jen ripped you a new one. It’s obvious you maintain your slim and trim figure by sticking your foot in your mouth. LOL

    • luckyone

      You’re COW for saying that. She wasn’t “getting on Jay”, she was asking all the questions that we wanted to know the answeres to. So try not to be rude. PLEASE.

  • JWhitaker

    What a biased article. Leno was and is by far, more popular than conan is or was. He was just NOT that funny. Why not write a Fair and balanced article?

    • skiiboski

      this ain’t Fox homeboy.

    • Sarah

      What do you mean? The writer posted quotes from an interview. Seems pretty “fair and balanced” to me.

    • Paul

      How about the time Jay pushed Carson out the door. All carson did was allow Jay to guest host his show and Jay used the press and NBC’s idiotic suits to force a classy, talented man out of his job.

      How about the time jay screwed Letterman out of The Tonight Show gig?

      How about the time Jay threw his long-time manager under the bus to save his own job?

    • llm

      Jay’s humor is “look how stupid America is.” Do you reallY find that funny? I mean really? How is that funny? On what planet is it funny to keep doing Jay-walking and continue to point out that Americans are dumb? What is wrong with you?

      • Pete

        Jaywalking is beyond LCD “humor”, it’s a justification for fat cats like Jay to take and take resources from others, the idea being that only stupid people fail in our society. Jay keeps talking about how it could be gone tomorrow, well, what tomorrow is he planning for? When is enough, enough?

      • luke let

        thats because americans are pretty clueless

    • Ambient Lite

      What about that 96% in her audience that supported Conan do you not understand? And think of her audience demographic! I would have thought them to be more Leno-leaning.

      • Stacy

        i totally agree. i was astounded by that number 96% of OPRAH’s audience supported CONAN…totally thought the old fogies would be behind Leno

      • JLI

        While I agree with you guys, let’s remember these are the members of Oprah’s audience who understood how to take a pole on Oprah.com… That might alter the demo a little.

      • Ambient Lite

        OH the HILARITY! So many unintentionally funny posts here but JLI ftw!!!
        “members of Oprah’s audience who understood HOW TO TAKE A POLE” LOL!

      • blue

        IDK that was pre-interview. SHe posted the after-show portion of her show online, and judging by the audience reaction it seemed like more people were leaning towards Jay. Oprah was actually more pro-Jay than she came off in the interview, also.

      • Yes

        Fansites for Conan told people to go and vote at her website, I think that may have skewed the results.
        I’m interested to know why Oprah didn’t touch on what happened when Leno took over, how that may have been part of the underlying dislike of Leno. A book and movie were done about it, come on Oprah! I don’t understand why the past was ignored, like all this existed in a vacuum????

    • lemur

      Really? Really? Conan atleast was funny. Leno basically coasted on the name of the show and NBC promoting him to death.

  • Tad

    If Dave didn’t want people to use it as material then dave should have kept his pants on! Dave made the mistake so it is fair game. Also it was not just one affair he has had numerous ones thru out the years. GO JAY LENO! KNOCK DAVE AND JIMMY TO THE GROUND! WE ARE BEHIND YOU!

    • i’m a lady

      except his jokes hurt dave’s wife more than him…

    • Pete

      No we aren’t you idiot, speak for yourself!! Jay Leno is a big crybaby and he needs to stop all the whining already. His true colors are starting to show and they are just as nasty as his big old chin! If Leno was a good comedienne he would have made fun of the big gap in Dave’s teeth, rather than insult Letterman’s wife, she’s an innocent victim and didn’t need to be dragged into the mess. Leno is a total idiot.

      • CMU

        Agreed. Especially since Leno’s autobiography is called “Leading with My Chin.” His jaw bone is a subject of jokes, even ones he makes about himself. Saying something so hurtful and tasteless about David Letterman’s poor wife was the complete last straw for me.

    • Chandler

      Who is this “we”? Maybe you are behind him. Let’s see according to the poll that would be 4% of the demographic. I guess now we’ll really get to see how low the ratings for “The Tonight Show” can get and how the franchise can be destroyed.

    • tinister

      Dave doesn’t give a s**t if people use his mistakes as material. Jay is the one who said he took Dave’s jokes personally.

      Or more accurately: Jay said he took Dave’s joke personally, then he said he didn’t, then he said it was all part of the job, then he took a jab at Dave to get back at him. LOL

    • Debi

      Tad, I don’t really think Dave cares. But when it comes to new material, the only stuff that gets a laugh is what he’s stolen from other people.

  • Kurt

    Way to turn what he said around to make him look like some sort of bad guy. I’m not a Jay fan or a Conan fan, but facts are facts, Conan’s ratings sucked for The Tonight Show, if they were good then he would still have it and Jay would have been out of a job.

    • GOCHIN

      all you Conan lovers where were you when his show was going down the dumpster? stop being haters

      • junierizzle

        We were watching. Its Jay’s fault for staying on the air. Jay kept all his viewers. Conan never got a chance to win the over. Get your facts straight, jerk.

      • Gaby

        I have to agree with Gochin. Considering that all these Conan followers have come out of nowhere during this fiasco, where were you when Conan was on the air? Certainly, not watching because had you been watching, we wouldn’t even be talking about this. How is it that Jay kept all his viewers? These “so called” viewers weren’t watching the Jay Leno show either, so can’t make the Leno kept all his viewers claim. By the way, Junie, get YOUR facts straight before calling people names.

      • Lay Jeno

        Conan failed, end of story. I know he didn’t get the same opportunity Jay did but don’t you think if Johnny had wanted to come back and Jay was struggling as badly as Conan, Johnny would have come back. Blame the times as much as anything. If you don’t get instant results your considered a failure nowadays, that wasn’t the case for Jay.

      • Terri

        I don’t think Jay kept all his viewers, that was a big part of the problem. Only his most devoted fans watched him at 10pm. The ratings for his show were so bad, NBC local affiliates were losing money, and that’s when the Jay/Conan feathers began to fly. It wasn’t about Jay being better than Conan, it was about Jay’s ratings not being a good enough lead-in for the news, and Conan after. Jay isn’t the talented “good guy” he’d like us to believe he is. He’s a lying, classless boob.

      • Lay Jeno

        Jay had about the same ratings at 10 that he had with the Tonight Show. That’s just not good enough at 10:00, which is primetime, though.

      • K. Lyn

        I was watching. Unfortunately, as a non-Nielsen household, it didn’t count.

    • Josh

      If you watch the 10@10 with Kimmel, it looks like Kimmel is going to be nice about it until Jay Leno calls what Kimmel did a “cruel impression” and one of the worst ideas his writers ever proposed to him. After that Kimmel just let loose on Jay.

      • Anna

        What happened with Leno is what Howard Stern has been prophesizing for many years. Infact, Howard went on the Late Show with Conan not long after Jay told his “little white lie” and warned Conan that he thought Jay was lying and that he’d never give up the Tonight Show.

    • Annnndddd……SCENE!

      I find it interesting that a lot of people keep mentioning Conan’s poor ratings. Does anyone know what they were nationally? As someone who has worked at network television stations, I can attest to the fact that Nielsen, the sole media viewing data collection agency in the US (read: Monopoly), has a system for determining ratings that is anything BUT perfect. If you look at the population selected to fill out ratings books and use meters (which I have done too many times to count), you’ll see that a vast majority of those being asked for their viewing habits over 4 weeks of the entire year tend to skew to the age demograpic 50+. So while I understand people discussing ratings, that’s not always a great argument, especially since advertisers buy off sweeps ratings in Nov, Feb, and May (and to a lesser extent July). Just wanted to point that out.

      • teekay

        You have to wonder as well how many people watch late night talk shows during the summer months, which is when Conan took over TTS. I’m guessing trying to build an audience starting in June would be an uphill battle in and of itself. Then with the arrival of the 10PM Leno show in the fall, did Conan ever stand a chance, ratings-wise?

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