Jay Leno seeks salvation on 'Oprah'

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012210oprahleno1.jpg

Jay Leno and Oprah Winfrey celebrate the 50th anniversary
of "The Tonight Show" in 2004.
(NBC)


Word is: Jay Leno wants to go on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" to tidy up his tarnished image.

The appearance could happen as early as next week, according to the report this morning in The New York Post.

"Oprah and Jay love each other," a source told the Post, suggesting that Oprah will play nice with the beaten-down talk-show host. "They talk constantly."

"We're still discussing it," an NBC representative said of the idea.

A lotta folks, from fellow talk-show hosts David Letterman and Jimmy Kimmel to pundits and bloggers, have been piling on Leno for acquiescing to NBC's plan -- yanking Conan O'Brien from "The Tonight Show" after only seven months and returning Leno to that post after his spectacular failure in primetime.

But don't look for Oprah to make peace between Leno and Conan on the show. The deal he signed to leave NBC mandates that he stay off TV -- and can't give any interviews -- until late this summer.

UPDATE: It's set. Jay Leno will be on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" this Thursday, Jan. 28.


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64 Comments

Neither comedian is better than the other. They just appeal to different people. I like Craig Ferguson. Leno attracts more people so that is who they are keeping. It is business. Conan had no problem pushing Leno out of his job, even though Leno always said he is moving because NBC is pushing him out, not because he wants to. Now that the opposite is happening everyone feels bad for Conan.

For those readers who are too young to recall - or who weren't particularly interested, at the time - it might help to get some background on the whole Leno v. Letterman story. Read all about how Jay Leno acquired The Tonight Show hosting gig, way back in 1993.
.
http://bit.ly/6FjAQq (article from NY Times; 1994)

What a cry baby. The day he took over the tonight show fron Johnny was the day i stopped watching the Tonight Show. Never liked him and now I hate him even more. How selfish can someone be? But then again we are talking about Jay. And he is NOT funny.

Jay Leno is slime. I'm already planning to join a substantial force of viewers for a boycott of NBC and the Tonight Show because of his underhanded, dirty tactics to get "his" show back. If Oprah goes ahead with this interview, when Conan can't even discuss the situation (due to the legal agreement with NBC), well, I think I'll boycott her as well. She had better watch out, Conan's fanbase is nothing to sneeze at, and those wonderful ratings to which she is so accustomed, could take a swift and steep nosedive....along with her image.

What she is doing is completely unethical. Someone who has such a forum should seek the truth, not a one sided PR campaign! Because Conan can't express his viewpoint, all she is doing is abusing her position, and giving her friend an hour of airtime to build up his image. Wow, I never realized how closely her show resembles an infomercial. Just paid programming, spoon fed to middle America who will believe it bc their god Oprah believes it. Shame on Oprah for her poor judgment. And shame on Jay for attempting to manipulate the masses in this way.

Oprah got bamboozled by James Frey. Now she's about to repeat that fiasco with Leno.

Conan is maybe the greatest talk show talent of our time. His stand up is original and genuinely funny. Even more incredible are his interviews. He adds to the comedic value and can make any interview interesting no matter how good a job his guest does. Something good will work out for Conan. As for NBC and Jay, I'm not so sure.

oh chris columbus...did you really need to use the word retarded? so 5th grade.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion and their favorite comedians. However, regardless of how "bad" Jay's primetime show was, if Conan's show was that good, people would change the channel to watch it. They didn't. I like both Conan and Jay but they have totally different approaches. It all about numbers. This is VERY simple: if you don't like Jay, don't watch him. If you love Conan, watch whatever he does next. Reading all of this trash talk is ludicrous. None of you know the industry, nor the true story. So hold your tongue and just watch who you want. NBC made the programming decisions, not the comedians.

Shame on Oprah for even entertaining the idea of interviewing that "snake in the grass" Leno. Not very fair to just get Leno's side without a rebuttal from Conan but that is Leno's style and he has done it time and time again. It does not surprise me also that Oprah will allow this to happen. Look at what she did with the Presidential election just because Obama is black.

She may get some ratings with this but I think it will backfire for Leno (so I hope it does happen). Most comedians know the score, Leno will back stab anyone to get what he wants. Look at what Letterman, Kimmel, Stern, Patton Oswalt, Greg Fitzsimmons and countless others have said about Leno. Tom Hanks even said, "Conan will always be the host of the 'Tonight Show' in our household".

Conan will be fine and due to horrible programming by NBC execs was the scapegoat. If the 11:00 PM news loses 50% of viewers due to Jay Leno then what does Conan have going for him. Probably 60% less lead in. No one likes to bring that up. I am sure Leno will NOT!!!

CoCo forever!!!

Conan has no talent at all. He's just not funny! Jimmy Kimmel is way better if you were to say whoever appeals more to young people. Jay is a great comedian, hands down. The entertainment industry is the real model of the survival of the fittest. So, Conan can't survive, and the ratings show it all.

I was glad when Jay Leno said he retired from the tonight show... He's boring and not funny. Having him back is like digging up your grandmothers coffin. just gross.

The facts may be devoid from the public. All we may have is speculation as to what jay leno really had to do with this whole debacle.

But the facts are these:

(a) Conan was not given the ample time to transition The Tonight Show for his type of comedy. I don't recall Jay Leno getting axed in 7 months, or even 14 months, when it took him 3 years to get The Tonight Show back to #1. So the reasoning that Conan's failure is his own, even by NBC's words, are idiotic. There is too much inconsistency for this to be considered a legitimate reason.

(b) Jay Leno may not have had anything to do with Conan being kicked out (directly). But he always had the option of declining the offer of taking back The Tonight Show from Conan. He may not have wanted to retire when NBC asked him at 2004 when he was still hosting, and he may not have wanted to retire up until the day he left The Tonight Show. But he can gracefully thank NBC for the offer and decline to take the show back. That would leave NBC with Conan as the only option. More importantly Jay Leno would look like a gracious former host simply sticking to his word and passing the torch. But instead, he kept his mouth shut and let the dirty deed be done by those in charge. And pretend like he did not have a choice in the events that played out.

Jay Leno stated that he would rather retire than to let this get ugly again, like how it transpired between him and letterman when Johnny retired and yet here we are.

hypocracy at its best here folks.

Remember, you always have a choice. And for Jay Leno to claim he had none, well it's stupid.

I have never watched Oprah.
I have never watched Leno.
I hope people won't watch Oprah and Leno in the future. Leno is not funny and Oprah ... her show is similar to Jerry Springfield's without violence. Her show is very boring!

i agree with victoria, this is not jay leno's fault. 5 years ago he went to nbc and said i wanna retire and give the show to conan. nbc asked him if he would do a show at prime time in which jay said it will not work. nbc eventually got him to agree to do it promising jay leno 5 years, even saying the first 5 months will be hard but youll pick it up when reruns of other network shows begin. so the time came and jay leno walked away from the tonight show not knowing what was going to happen. he left the show with it ranked #1 which was the way it was given to him. conan o'brien lost that #1 rank and jay lenos show was stripped from him after only 5 months. The last thing jay would wanna do it take the show from conan, i believe conan quit after he didnt like the time change, no one took the tonight show from him, they ask he push it back a half hour to allow jay leno to do a half hour show to try to help boost conan. these are both very hard working guys with a lot of respect for one another and i dont think conan blames jay at all for this. I have a lot of respect now for the way conan left the tonight show tonight thanking nbc for working with him for twenty years! I wish him lots of luck

Oprah has a saying, "when people show you who they are, believe them". Well, Oprah, you and your backstabbing buddy, Jay, have show me exactly who you are. Guess what? I believe you. I'll never watch either of your shows again.

Conan stole the Tonight show from Jay in his contract negotiations in 2004 or 2005. Jay had to smile and say he had decided to retire. Conan wasn't funny nor did he have good ratings. Jay on the other hand is funny, was number one in the ratings and has a great supporting staff in Kevin and the guys (and gal). I knew from the on-set that this was a stupid idea and would never last. Seven months was 6 months more than I gave it in the office pool. Finally, when it became apparent to NBC that Jay was the better bargin and could maintain a number one rating and Conan couldn't it was too late. Now NBC has decided to give Jay back what was rightfully his in the first place. I'm sure partly to get some of their ratings back, but to also ensure that they don't lose Jay to another network. My point in "rehashing" all of this is.............cut Jay a break!!!!! He is only doing what any of the rest of us would do in the same spot...AND...... the bigger focus should be on the fact that NBC has serious issues in their management department but this also explains why it is always running last in any of the ratings.

THIS is why I am mad at Jay Leno!
NBC had two problems.

1) Jay Leno's 10:00pm show was hurting the leadins for the news and Conan
2) Conan's show wasn't doing well as Jay's in the ratings.

In the beginning it was all about canceling Jay's show because of the affiliate problem.

Jay got his show in the first place by threatening to go to Fox and competing directly against Conan.

Now its important WHEN Jay's show was aired. 10:00pm BEFORE CONAN. When Jay's show got cancelled, NBC suggested moving Jay Leno's show to 11:35EST BEFORE CONAN (again).

Jay demanded that he be first AFTER he said he was going to retire and pass the torch. Ok so Jay doesnt want to retire...he could have not retired and came on after Conan if he just wanted to be on tv...but his big ego prevented him from playing second fiddle to Conan. This is why everyone is mad at Jay

Conan had 7 months to prove himself in a NBC climate that was new...no powerful 10pm drama, terrible news leadins.. so I think it is a bit unfair...but NBC was scared crapless at the potential of Jay competing against Conan, so they went with the established guy.

I myself am sad to see Conan's last show, and I loath that he has to wait 7 months before any interviews, or hosting. I have to agree with the above people, Leno shouldn't do any talking until Conan can, because that is far too low of a thing for them to do to Conan. I've decided when this whole thing started, I'm not going to watch anything Leno does, and switch to watch Letterman from now on. I used to have respect for Leno, and I do think they did make a mistake putting him at 10, since it is a bad time. But he did pass the torch, and for him to take it back after 7 months is just wrong.

Let's face it, Jay Leno will always be the Tonight Show, besides Carson he was the best host and the ratings proved it. Conan on the other hand was terrible and no matter how many times I tried watching him, I always ended up changing to Letterman which I never had to do in the past with Leno. I really think that conan did the right thing in taking the settlement and walking away because NBC would of lost too much money.It's about time that they realize thier mistake.

Leno is a worthless piece of scum.

Every dog has his day...Jay had his and it looks
like Conan will have his probably starting Sept on
Fox.

If that does happen it would be easy to imagine
Conan leaving his competitors in the dust much to
the chagrin of NBC leadership. Kind of fun to watch isn't it!

The only way this deal would have made sense is if Leno was getting great ratings for his 10pm show and Conan was getting terrible ratings for his tonight show.
Instead, they are replacing Conan with Leno who failed miserably. They are replacing the guy with the unimpressive ratings with a guy with terrible ratings. It makes no sense to replace a disappointment with a disaster.

It was stupid that NBC denied Conan time to improve his ratings. After more than 17 years of service, he deserved that chance. The only reason NBC would think about getting rid of Conan is because they know greedy Leno was always waiting in the hallway itching to snatch the show back. Leno is a classless d-bag that claims no responsibility for his actions, and people like that never learn their lessons. He did it once to Carson, and now he is doing it to Conan.

Ok I got some answers for Mr. Jason's questions. If I was Jay, here would be my answers. Just tell the truth.


-When you lost in the ratings to Letterman for 2 years early-on in your Tonight Show stint, do you think NBC should have fired you 7 months in? - No because I had to build a new audience as Letterman was getting his new show up and I had to make some changes to the staff in order to get the show going the way I wanted it too. Let me also state that NBC should have given Conan more time as well. They should have given my show more than 4 months too, but affiliates complained. Its not my fault NBC's primetime lineup is worse than that of the travel channel.

-You ended your Tonight Show rein last year. Your new show failed. Why didnt you walk away and let Conan build an audience? - Because I am under contract with NBC. They moved me to 11:35 on their own, I didn't request it. Trust me I asked in 2008 to be let out of my contract after my last show so I could pursue other options. NBC said no. Trust me I tried to walk away to another network.

-Affiliates complained about your show NOT Conans. Why not accept the fact that your show was the problem? - Affiliates complained that my show was not pulling in the numbers that 10pm shows normally do. I understand their frustration and relayed it to NBC when they asked me to do it. Even though my numbers at 10pm are down from the same time a year ago, they are still better than Conan's who was getting beat by Nightline. I never lost to Nightline.

-Why do you keep placing responsibility on NBC when you could easily just choose to say "No." - Because NBC canceled my show at 10 and said they were moving it to 11:35, half-hour every night. I am under contract to do this show. If I don't do it, then I am out of money and cannot go elsewhere for a long period of time.

-Do you think the vast majority of people who watched this go down are delusional in thinking you're more responsible than you let on? - No, because I am more responsible. I didn't want to retire and I was good at what I was doing. However, I did not want to go back on the agreement and asked NBC to be let out of my contract so I could pursue other options. They said no, that I was valuable and threw out this idea of a 10pm show - even though I was against the idea, I thought I owed it to NBC to try it.

-Why not just retire and allow the new talent in to grow? - Why retire? I am not ready too and I am good at what I was doing in late night. You don't just up and quit when you are #1 for 15 years and you are not ready to go. Why don't Letterman retire? He is older than I am. The Conan deal was NBCs project and asked me to step aside and hand the show to him. I humbly agreed because Conan is a good guy and earned his shot. What else was I going to do as NBC wanted this to happen.

-Where you lying in 2004 when you stated on-air that you wanted to pass the torch to Conan? - No, because I wanted to pass the torch to Conan and all the late-night comics. However, as I stated in 2004, NBC asked ME to step aside and hand the show over to Conan even though I was still tops in the ratings. They didn't want to lose Conan and I like Conan and didn't want to recreate the feud Letterman and I had in 1993. I agreed because you never know what you are going to do in 5 years and obviously NBC was going to give the show to Conan one way or another.

Those of you who state that Leno's audience is too old need to look at the stats. He was winning the younger demographic all 15 years he was number 1. Conan did great with these numbers but awful everywhere else. Leno balances his audience and will be number 1 again. And earlier this week - in the heat of the battle - he beat Conan in the younger demos. His average audience at 10pm will follow him to late night and that will instantly give him #1 over Letterman again. Look at it this way, those bashing Leno were never his fans anyway and probably never watched him. I think he will be just fine.

All should remember that Carson NEVER appeared on Jay's Tonight Show. The best they could get was Ed McMahon (RIP), yet Johnny made a few appearances at Dave's Late Night. Jay is a company man, end of discussion. He can't (or refuses) to push an envelope the way Conan and Dave tend to do. Good luck Conan. Come September, it'll be either Conan or Dave to watch....mmmmm, tough choice.

Congrat to Jay!! Keep your chin up!!
He did nothing wrong...Blame NBC...it's the politics of TV land. I have watched the Tonight Show for many years and have also watched Conan from his very first show. Conan has come a long ways but in my opinion is not as good as Jay.
I feel bad for Conan but I would love to get fired for over 30 Million. With all the bad things happening in the world, I don't think I will lose sleep over this.

Oprah thinks she f-ing rules the world, she makes me so sick. Oh look at all the wonderful things I can do for the world! She is blinded by her fame and fortune. Always hated her. Can't wait till her show goes off the air!! Or will she pull a Leno and come back in 7 months because the new host isn't working out?!
Oprah sucks.
Leno sucks.
This could be the worst put together show in the history of the world.

In the end, nobody was watching Conan, that is why he is getting canned. Letterman is trashing Jay because eventually he is going back to number 2. Simple as that...

I would lose respect for Oprah, who I love, if she had Jay on. He is a joke-robot-lame-o. She should have Conan on, because he actually has something to talk about, in terms of a story. NBC didn't want to lose him, he could have gone somewhere else long ago for a better time slot, but he has a sentiment to the Tonight Show, which Jay and NBC do not have. Jay is nothing. NBC is dead to me & Oprah better play fair and not-buddy side-taker. Conan deserves better treatment, time to get his ratings up. He really is so funny, maybe some people have to have some time to get that he is hilarious, because he actually has a sense of humor and a mind that "thinks funny," like a comedian. Or maybe people are just so lame that they really prefer Jay. Lets hope for a world where Coney has his own show ASAP and kills Jay in the ratings!!!

hey all, before you go look "on the internet" for your Ultimate Truth, consider that any idiot with a library card can start up a blog for free "on the internet". consider your source, bra.

who cares about what Oprah asks Leno? I want to see the yahoos at NBC come on the show and explain themselves. Leno and Conan are just the talent with a contract. The NBC execs are to blame for letting this sh*t hit the fan. But they're lapping up the ratings now, aren't they?

1. Conan O'Brien is a whiner. He demanded the Tonight Show years ago and squeezed Leno out way before he had reached his expiration date.
2. Johnny Carson has been on record as saying "Don't let me stay too long." We were sad to see him go but he went while at the top of his game and while he could hold his head high.
3. Jay Leno has operated within his contract.
4. Conan O'Brien has been properly compensated, and boohoo if he can't be on TV for 9 months. He's 32 million bucks richer than the rest of us (not even considering what he has made as a salary for years).
5. for those of you saying that Leno should have left and let Conan build an audience: Leno was on at 10:00pm. Conan was on at 11:35 p.m. duh. They're not competing.
6. My husband and I (who don't wear dentures and are in our thirties) watched both Leno and Conan for several weeks before we decided that Conan was sinking and we'd rather watch Leno. NOTE: we watched Conan in his old spot and usually enjoyed his show.
7. Conan has built his career on being the red-headed dork, and I challenge anyone to argue that. The Tonight Show just isn't the venue for a red-headed (or any other color hair) dork.
8. Jimmy Fallon has no business on Late Late Night. Poor kid, he just sucks and should have stuck with SNL (which sucks these days too, IMO)
9. I grew up watching The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. If I was lucky enough and my mom was asleep, I was allowed to stay up and watch the monologue because I loved to hear my dad laugh. It's a tradition I still hold to when I get the chance. But it's just not the same anymore.
10. I just had to get to ten, so everyone stop pitying Conan. He's made plenty of money to console him and will probably go to Fox, because Fox is always looking to make an easy buck.

@Leno didn't want to GoGo for CoCo in 2004

First off, show-wise, I really could care less about Leno or Conan. I don't even need to get into "whose funnier" to point me in an ethical direction for this situation.

As Letterman put it: If Leno had a problem with NBC pushing him out or whatever... DON'T wait in the lobby, pretend everything is okay, announce a transition, pass the torch to a friend- ALL WHILE wishing you wouldn't lose your show... Then play a role in YANKING it from him, while pretending to be completely neutral, expecting everyone to be too stupid to realize what is actually going on.

What HE SHOULD have done is say F-U to NBC in 2004, planed a move to another network in '09 and then destroyed them in ratings.

Sorry, but Leno's methods, clueless or not, are CRUEL.

You say:

"Fact: Conan's ratings sucked at 11:35
Leno's ratings sucked even worse at 10
Fact: Leno was the leader at 11:35"

I'm sorry but this shows a complete lack of television knowledge. You can't replace a host who's been on-air for 17 years and expect to beat another host (Letterman) who has been around for 16! That makes NO SENSE. Especially since a lot of viewers flip between the two shows and now there's a dominant "familiar one."

I reiterate the Questions Oprah needs to ask so that the interview isn't complete FLUFF:

When you lost in the ratings to Letterman for 2 years early-on in your Tonight Show stint, do you think NBC should have fired you 7 months in?

-You ended your Tonight Show rein last year. Your new show failed. Why didnt you walk away and let Conan build an audience?

-Affiliates complained about your show NOT Conans. Why not accept the fact that your show was the problem?

-Why do you keep placing responsibility on NBC when you could easily just choose to say "No."

-Do you think the vast majority of people who watched this go down, are delusional in thinking you're more responsible than you let on?

-Why not just retire and allow the new talent in to grow?

-Where you lying in 2004 when you stated on-air that you wanted to pass the torch to Conan?

For all the Leno supporters saying that it wasn't Leno's decision to give up the Tonight Show and he shouldn't be blamed, I say your wrong. If he didn't want to leave the Tonight Show he should have fought has hard to keep it as he did to take it back from Conan. Conan didn't want to leave the Tonight Show and he fought for it. When he realized that he couldn't win and would possibly be crushing Fallon's dream and tarnishing the Tonight Show legacy he did the honorable thing and stepped aside making sure in the process his staff was taken care of. Leno could have done the same thing but, he chose himself over all else. He is without honor or dignity and I really can't see any self respecting comedian wanting to take the Tonight Show over now after this debacle. I guess when Leno dies we can look forward to The Tonight Show with Carlos Menicia or some other talentless hack.

Jay Leno is a chump! He announced in 2005 that he was retiring and passing the "Tonight Show" to Conan. Now he wants it back because his show tanked! Leno should retire!! He can make plenty of money doing stand-up in Vegas. I hope the return of Leno fails big-time. Leno has disgraced the legacy of the "Tonight Show". Did'nt he do something similar to this by sqeezing out the great Johnny Carson sooner than he was ready to leave? Leno is only concerned with himself and no one else. He just uses that "I'm just a nice guy caught up in all of this". His star is beginning to tarnish!! Leno RETIRE!!!!

Yes, I'm sure all of America can relate to getting "sacked and screwed" for 32 million dollars.
When I heard conan was taking over the Tonight Show I thought it was a huge mistake. Conan is too zany for The tonight Show. I really liked him where he was, and I never thought he was "mainstream" enough for the Tonight Show. Johnny Carson gave the Tonight Show class, and Jay Leno has continued the tradition. Conan just fell short. I don't think that Jay did any huge manipulating. I think Conan failed on his own. I think the people who watched Conan at 12:35 watched Letterman at 11:35, and they weren't about to ditch Letterman. Bottom line: NBC lost their target audience.

Not even Oprah will be able to save leno's image.

What Jay Leno has failed to realize in this very unfunny debacle, is that his viewing public can commiserate pretty well these days with sa fellow who is being "sacked and screwed" over by yet another corporation - in this case NBC. After all, our country is still in the middle of a recession with double-digit unemployment rates, and many of us know exactly how humiliated and betrayed Conan O'Brien must feel -even with his millions. It's all about principle. We couldn't do much about the corporate bailout last year, but we sure as hell can change channels! You can be sure that whenever I see Jay Leno's face anywhere, whether on television, or online, it'll be Click! Click! Buh-bye!

Both Jay and Conan have different sort of comedy, thats why some of you think one's funny and the other is not. There are a couple of things people have to have in mind.
1) For all of you people who support Jay Leno, before you decide if all this is right or not, look up some info over the internet on how Jay Leno trick everyone to get the Tonight Show and how he has stolen a lot of scetches and ideas from other comedians or talk show host, with out even asking.
2) Conan did have lousy rating, but thats because he had the worst lead in in history! I mean, #1 Conan viewer either Tivoed his program och watched it over the internet, and the last 4 months which have been a disaster for Conan are all because av the lousy lead in my Leno.
3) It took 2 years for Leno to get to number one, but the network gave him time. Its not like they asked Johnny to come back after 7 months. Johnny Carsson said and intresting thing to his friend and producer of the Tonight Show: Remind me not to stay on as host too long and when I do retire, remind me not to go back!
4) If you people know anything about morals, think about this. Once Jay Leno agrees to hand over the show to Conan, even though he had second thoughts about it at the end, you have to go on. Its unmoral to take back a gift. Plus, all of Conan staff moved to LA from NYC and Jay Leno should have been the bigger person and said: "wait, I cant be a part of this". But he is too selfish.
5) Last but not least, you guys who think Conan suck, well its alright. Everyone is entitled to an opinion, but Conan has gone around anyones back and isnt for example taking back the Latenight Show from Jimmy Fallon. Conan has always said that the legacy of the Tonight Show is above him, not like Leno that just wanted to be on 11.30, dont caring about what that would to do to the legacy of the Tonight Show. In all of this, Leno hasnt spoken with Conan. And NBC and Jay Leno made the decision before Conan got a say. How come Jay Leno gets a say and not Conan?

ChrisColumbus: you are asserting what?

as·ser·tion (ə-sûr'shən)
n.

1.

The act of asserting.
2.

Something declared or stated positively, often with no support or attempt at proof.

Your whole post is an assertion based on what you stated without proof.

Jay is such a slime ball. Oprah cannot save this douche bag.. He should have retired and saved everyone the BS !!

I read a few of the comments above.....and I don't get it.....how can anyone blame Jay? I guess some of you have forgotten his new show was cancelled too. Has it crossed anyone's mind that if Jay did great....NBC would have left his show on...and NBC would have not wanted to move Jay back to the Tonight show - BUT...they still would have made SOME kind of change for Conan. His numbers were horrible. That is not Jay's fault. Conan's alone. They probably would have put someone else on the tonight show (maybe tried out a bunch of guest hosts - who KNOWS) but they could not have left Conan. Unless I missed the memo, Jay Leno does not run NBC. One thing is for sure, when he left the Tonight show 7 months ago, he was number ONE, and that is ALL NBC cares about. If any of you out there is thinking that if Jay would have said "NO" to coming back to the Tonight show, that NBC would have kept Conan, you're crazy. Repeat: It is not Jay's fault that Conan tanked.

@Brandon Dude Conan is more marketable cos he's the new permanent host with the younger audience that will grow with him, how is Jay's 97 year old audience more marketable. Jay's career is done as his audience will drop dead soon. Pushing out Conan has been a PR disaster so Leno will certainly not be the victor at 11.30, and assuming he will be is a very unwise assumption. Like srsly a borderline retarded assumption.

And frankly it doesn't matter if Leno is more marketable (but I really have to assert that he's not), the fact is the Tonight Show was promised to Conan, he is clearly more talented than the for years critically hammered Leno and he certainly deserves more than 7 months to prove himself.

Oprah saved Obama during the election but I'm not sure if even Oprah can save Jay.

Jay Leno is going to get crushed in the ratings!
The tonight show will never be the same again!!!! It's not going to be number one ever again!!!!!

So Nicole, how can you definitively say Conan's side of the argument is "we all know is the right side"? Remind me to never invite you to be on a jury judging me without the facts.

And Jason - picture this: In 2004 Conan demanded that he get the tonight show as part of his contract renewal. Well Isn't that special?
Who is he to demand that?

Forget what happened at 10 PM - the network took Leno off when he was at the top of his game and was the number 1 rated show in the time slot.

And he probably was "lying" as you put it in 2004. He probably never wanted to pass the torch to Conan but was allegedly was given no choice in the matter.
So NBC is definitely to blame here for the whole mess.
Fact: Conan's ratings sucked at 11:35
Leno's ratings sucked even worse at 10
Fact: Leno was the leader at 11:35
The network is betting that they have taken Conan out of the equation and will attempt to fix what they broke by moving the guy with the proven track record at 11:35 back to his old show.

Will it work? No guarantee. But if a co-worker of mine asked for my job and my employer gave it to him/her and they failed (while I was being successful) - I'd be damned if I'd sit back and let it happen.

I'm sure that's what Leno was really thinking in 2004 and in 2009 and now in 2010.
Only time will tell and we the viewers (except Nicole)will determine if it is going to work or not.

I'm afraid you people don't get the big picture. Conan is NOT funny ! Jay is.

How is it Jay Leno's fault that Coco couldnt get people to watch his show? Im sorry to all the Conan fans out there, but Jay Leno was forced out last year, he's not ready to hang 'em up, and hes a much more marketable late night host than Conan. Everyone is talking about Jay like he should have terminated his own career so that others arround him could benefit. Its a crock of crap and he deserves his show back. put him on Oprah and let him have his say!

I want her to ask Jay if he ever CALLED CONAN to discuss what was happening. In all his remarks, he never mentioned talking directly to Conan about what was going on. Wouldn't that have been his first instinct if he was really an honorable man?

Jay and Orcah or friends? wow, that will be a laughable "interview". Leno is really a sad sack nowadays. From a respected stand up comic to a reviled shell of his former self, mocked by comedians across the country...and apparently too clueless to even realize how hated he currently is. I hope Conan O'Brien comes back to CRUSH Leno in the ratings in September.

It would not change my opinion of leno if he did oprah or not. What he did was down right wrong. He is just a selfish man.

First off, I'm tired of the Jay Leno gets ratings argument. He gets ratings because he has watered down comedy to absorb all the idiots watching. It's the same argument that Nickelback sells tons of records. Yeah, but they suck and they are bad for music, because they simply play dumb downed music simply to appeal to the largest group of people. They are void of anything real that stands the test of time. Same with Jay, he is a completely forgettable host. Johnny was quick-witted, genre changing and appealed to the masses. It can be done, Jay just chooses the easy way out. He's a tool and shame on you for contributing to the downfall of The Tonight Show.

I'm sorry but Leno is old news! Whatever happened to leaving with some class and dignity?

Conan is the future and Leno is the past, as far as I (and most people who don't wear dentures) are concerned! I think it's sad that Conan has been treated so poorly this and now all these spin doctors are trying to make Leno look like some sort of victim here. Leno took 18 months to find success on the Tonight Show. What a loser.

For Jay to go give an interview on any show, let alone Oprah, while Conan is barred from saying anything is a really low blow.

Look,

There are 2 sides to every story. If you are going to get one side, you HAVE to get the other.

PERIOD.

I don't know, look what affect Oprah had on the Olympics

New Yorker, Jason, and Nicole are telling the truth. Jason's potential questions are particularly valid in making his point. I can guarantee you these types of questions will NEVER be asked. Oprah doesn't ask hard hitting questions to get to the truth--ever see her interview a politician? This is the woman who asked Al Gore when he was running for president "What's your favorite cereal?"!! No--she will do absolutely nothing but shmooze up to Leno and cast him in his now all-too-familiar
'innocent, nice uncle Jay' bit which he has spent years manufacturing and selling very successfully to the American masses who want nothing but a safe, predictable, bland host for these types of shows. And the worst part of all? The public is going to eat this bullsh*t up.

I agree, if Leno didn't want to leave, he should have fought it long before. Now he's acting like he has no choice but to take the show back. He could have stood up like Conan did, but I guess as long he is getting paid, he doesn't care where NBC puts him or how they treat him. He said he didn't think the Leno show would work in primetime, but that did stop him from doing it anyway. Conan didn't think the tonight show would work at 12:05, so he refused to participate. Leno would have just kept taking the money no matter how bad the show did. The guy has no spine. Have fun buying more cars that you don't need!! I agree that this interview shouldn't take place at all until Conan can give his side of the story.

If the "great" Oprah (I use that term LOOSELY) had any kind of concept as to the heart of this situation or a clue on anything, she would have CONAN on her show and NOT Leno. Who is the one here who has more of a story to tell? Hmmmm? Get a clue Oprah! Like that will happen!

I truly believe in Jay Leno. Stop the crap about his talents...he carried the Tonight Show to !st place for many years as did Johnny Carson. Sure NBC made a mistake about Conan not Leno. Conan is a no talent who writes better than he is a comedian... Jay is a COMEDIAN not a rube who acts and talks like the juvenile talent he is. The Tonight Show belongs to Jay Leno not Conan"no talent" O'Brien.

Letterman will take Leno hiding behind Oprah and make comedy GOLD. Dave's writers can take the month off.

This interview shouldn't take place at all until Conan can give his side of the story which we all know is the right side. Oprah is a long time friend of Leno and her interview who most undoubtedly be a biased one. It would be like if Elizabeth Hasselback interview former President George Bush on his failures as president. The fact of the matter is Conan AND his staff are the victims and Leno's selfishness and NBC's greed has inflicted untold hardship and heartache. I WILL NEVER watch anything involving Leno and if Oprah thinks for one minute she'll get me to change my mind she's sadly mistaken.

The interview will be complete soft-ball GARBAGE unless she asks:

-When you lost in the ratings to Letterman for 2 years early-on in your Tonight Show stint, do you think NBC should have fired you 7 months in?

-You ended your Tonight Show rein last year. Your new show failed. Why didnt you walk away and let Conan build an audience?

-Affiliates complained about your show NOT Conans. Why not accept the fact that your show was the problem?

-Why do you keep placing responsibility on NBC when you could easily just choose to say "No."

-Do you think the vast majority of people who watched this go down are delusional in thinking you're more responsible than you let on?

-Why not just retire and allow the new talent in to grow?

-Where you lying in 2004 when you stated on-air that you wanted to pass the torch to Conan?

Seriously? Oprah is going to do damage control for her beloved Jay Leno while Conan is gagged from speaking. I can't wait to hear Leno perform his usual, "Aw shucks, it's just show business" and "I just go where I'm wanted." There is a bigger picture here... NBC created this problem. The time for Jay to fight for his job was before he left it. What people find appalling (besides his tired old jokes) is that he doesn't see that he took away the chance of another - the same chance he was given - by giving NBC their quick fix. All ratings take time to build, especially with lousy lead-ins. Jay is greedy and selfish. He couldn't walk away from this situation with class. Conan had no choice, but to leave with their very bad idea - and is doing so with his head held high. So now Oprah is going to fix everything and tell us all how to think and feel because Jay is one of her favorite things. How very sad.

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This page contains a single entry by Thomas Conner published on January 22, 2010 10:42 AM.

Kitty Kelley's Oprah tell-all out April 13 was the previous entry in this blog.

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