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Jay Leno: 'I Don't Know What's Going On'

1/11/2010 10:00 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF

Looks like we know more about Jay Leno's move back to late night than Leno himself -- because last night in Hermosa Beach, he had more to say about cars than Conan.

Jay Leno: Click to watch
Outside the Comedy and Magic Club Sunday night, the only words out of Leno's mouth were "I don't know" when asked about the shakeup at NBC -- even though NBC has already announced Leno's taking at least some of Conan O'Brien's time slot back.

As we first reported, Conan now has three options -- one of which could net him as much as $80 million.

Negotiations are set to resume today, so stay tuned ...

41 COMMENTS

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1.

bob    

Dear TMZ...

I enjoy checking out the site. I have one piece of advice for your cameramen/women: When catching Jay Leno in his car, get video of the car. There are alot of car guys here in the rest of the country who enjoy the shots of dream cars the overpaid talking heads drive.

1723 days ago
2.

NoOneInParticular    

Gee, I thought Jay was retiring?? Then he gets the 10pm slot, now his ratings are poor and they want to move him back?? But, what happened to retiring?? This seems ludicrous.

I happen to enjoy him at 10pm, because I never stayed up to watch @11:30 anyway, but I guess I'm in the minority here. It's nice to see a lighthearted comedy show at 10 vs. the overkill of CSI's/Law and Orders/Cops/Law/Coroner/Murder Shows!!!

1722 days ago
3.

jedlea2002    

Jay never said that he wanted to retire….after leaving the Tonight Show. This was not the case with Johnny.

He had every right to go to another network and start a new show.
( This wouldn’t have been a problem if his ratings had decreaed over the years as NBC had expected. Instead he was still NO 1 after the five years were up )

NBC gave him a new show at an earlier time…first and formost to stop Conan from being creamed if there was a three way battle between him, Letterman and Leno.

Reading between the lines…
I think that a lot of e-mailers that want him to retire period !!!
are actuall concerned about the same thing !!!!
If Jay moves to Fox or ABC…Konan could be left out in the cold.

He has every right to start a competing show on another network…
even if it destroys Conan in the process.
Maybe yes..maybe no…but it would be fun to find out….
Place your bets.

1722 days ago
4.

Lola    

I cannot believe so many people are so worried about the Tonight Show. With everything else to worry about in this world and Leno & Conan get all the attention. WOW!

It is ALL ABOUT $$$$$$! Who cares who gets the Tonight Show. It is a freaken TV show for crying out loud and look at the $$$$ we are talking about? Do any of you make $80,000,000? That's alot of zeros.

Letterman has got to be lovin this!!!

1721 days ago
5.

LaLola    

SLOANE: Thanks for trying to state the facts but you are either a Leno fan with a selective memory or you inadvertently missed a crucial fact... Leno announced that at the end of his contract he would RETIRE... so NBC negotiated to slot Conan in the Tonight Show. Then, when Leno's contract ended he changed his mind. He is a big draw and NBC were happy to keep him so they created the 10pm slot for his current show. Now, his show isnt doing well in the ratings and it has been cancelled so they are trying to give him something else.
What I want to know is what does Leno have on the NBC execs to exert to much power??? He must have some dirt on someone in order to make the execs to jump thru hoops for him, while they are seemingly willing to let Conan go at a huge price. Conan has a much younger demographic and as such more long term staying power. He would be the better investment for the network. If I were a shareholder I would be very angry over this.

1721 days ago
6.

LaLola    

For those in denial... JAY LENO DID INDEED ANNOUNCE HIS RETIREMENT:
http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,702402,00.html
Excerpt from Entertainment Weekly, Sep 27, 2004

Jay Leno ...announced his retirement -- effective in five years. In 2009, he said, he'll vacate his desk at The Tonight Show and pass the torch on to Late Night host Conan O'Brien. Leno will break the news to his audience on Monday night's show, which marks the 50th anniversary of Tonight's debut on NBC.

''In 2009, I'll be 59 years-old and will have had this dream job for 17 years,'' Leno said in a statement. ''When I signed my new contract, I felt that the timing was right to plan for my successor, and there is no one more qualified than Conan. Plus, I promised [my wife] Mavis I would take her out for dinner before I turned 60.''

1721 days ago
7.

Matt    

Leno - I though you stepped down, now your 10PM show sucked, and you pulled viewers away from Conan so WTF. Why don't you just hang around like some F*ing ghost causing Conan to fail so you can destroy the heart and soul of the Tonigh Show.

WRITE THE ADVERTISERS... THEY ARE THE TRUE BOSSES OF NBC. Tell them how much you DON'T WANT LENO.

Dude (LENO)... do the right thing... get out of late night! Go buy more cars or something.... you are done!

1721 days ago
8.

vicar    

First

1725 days ago
9.

Chris    

I hope Leno goes down in flames with the rest of NBC.

1725 days ago
10.

lily05031    

Jay comes off like a really nice guy, but I have a feeling he is more ruthless than you think.

1725 days ago
11.

Bobo Frog    

What a phony.

1725 days ago
12.

J C    

Theoretically Conan could threaten to go to another network and get paid $1.00 per year and NBC would still have to pay Conan the balance on his 20 million dollar per year contract (as I understand).
That gives Conan more power to negotiate for more money from NBC to stay.

1725 days ago
13.

Sloane    

Jay and Conan are both great guys

a few years back, by trying to keep Conan happy NBC promised him the Tonight show for Sept 09 so that when his contract was up he wouldn't go to a competing network

Jay nicely conceded to that (he is a stand-up comic who is on the road weekends to this day so he knew financially he was fine) and announced on his show how great it was that Conan would take over then-so Conan's transition would be smoother than it had been for him-considerate thing to do

come summer 09 and NBC could clearly see that Jay consistently beat Letterman in the ratings so they didn't want to lose him to another network and have him maybe compete against Conan

so they didn't want to lose Jay-and they needed to honor Conan's new contract

that's when NBC execs thought they'd experiment with Jay at prime-time and crossed their fingers that it would work for them

turned out to not be the best thing-night time talk show at that hour-never been done before

so NBC execs created this dilemma and are now trying to sort it out--anyone blaming Jay or Conan obviously doesn't follow the facts

will be interesting to see how this is handled by NBC

and as I started out saying
Conan and Jay are both great guys-different styles, appealing to different groups-that is why it was so important for NBC to keep them-both are valuable and both bring in their own audiences

1724 days ago
14.

wasted days and wasted nights    

Jay could at least be honest about all of this. He is actin' the sneaky pete and the foo' by feigning ignorance.

1724 days ago
15.

J C    

N.B.C. has deep pockets because parent co. General Electric is being funded by the gov't.

1724 days ago
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