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Jay Leno Talks To Oprah About The Tonight Show Debacle

Jay Leno appeared on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” today to give his side of the story. During the interview he admitted that his reaction to NBC’s “Tonight Show” succession plan in 2004 was “a white lie,” and in reality it “broke his heart.”

“It broke my heart. It really did — I was devastated,” Leno told Oprah. “This was the job that I had always wanted, and this was the only job that ever mattered in show business — to me. It’s the job every comic aspires to. It was just like, why?”

Oprah also asked Jay about Jimmy Kimmel’s appearance on “The Jay Leno Show” to which he responded, “I got sucker-punched. … I could have edited it. But I said, ‘No, no, put it out there.”

As to whether or not he talked to O’Brien about the now-scrapped plan to move “The Tonight Show” to midnight he said, “It wasn’t my place to call Conan” and in regards to the hit this has had on his nice-guy image he said it was “a little unfair” and he’s “going to work hard to rehabilitate that image.”

As for NBC, Leno said, “NBC could not have handled it worse. From 2004 onward, this whole thing was a huge mess.”

In closing, he told Oprah that he was looking forward to some friendlier competition between the talk show hosts. “I hope Conan gets a job somewhere else,” Leno said. “I hope he gets on at FOX or somewhere, and we all compete together. And it raises the level of interest. And you know what happens, the best one wins. Maybe I’ll get my butt kicked, maybe we’ll win.”

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One Response to “Jay Leno Talks To Oprah About The Tonight Show Debacle”

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