On a show set to air today, Jay Leno tells Oprah Winfrey that he “felt really” bad Conan O’Brien got kicked off the “Tonight Show,” but Leno said he wasn’t to blame.
“I think it’s unfair, but TV is not fair,” Leno told the TV queen.
Leno said that he regrets the Tonight Show flip-flop disaster wasn’t handled better, but he said he doesn’t know what he would do differently.
He said he couldn’t leave his staff high and dry.
“By walking away that is an ego decision,” Leno said. “‘You all fend for yourselves. Good luck finding job. I am out of here.’”
Oprah didn’t let him off easily, asking why he didn’t quit like Conan did.
“I could have done that, but I didn’t,” he said. “They offered me my old job back which is a dream job. I said OK.”
Leno said the key to this whole thing is not to be bitter.
“I think Conan said it best when he said ‘don’t be cynical’,” Leno said.
Leno said that he hasn’t spoken to Conan because the time has not been right.
He said he would like to have O’Brien on his show in the future, but doesn’t know if O’Brien would be willing .
He said he thought O’Brien would have a successful show on FOX or where ever he ends up.
We will all compete again,” he said. “May the best man win.”
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