TMZ

Our TV Shows

Got a Tip?

Call TMZ at (888) 847-9869 or Click Here

Jay Leno -- 'Don't Blame Conan'

1/18/2010 9:59 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF

Jay LenoJay Leno just finished his monologue tonight where he addressed the Conan O'Brien situation head-on, saying that in 2004 NBC didn't have faith Jay could remain #1 in the ratings.

Jay explained that NBC execs came to him five years ago and told him they wanted to give "The Tonight Show" to Conan because he was getting other offers. When Jay pointed out he was #1 in the ratings, Jay said the exec told him, "We don't think you can maintain that."

Leno said the network guaranteed him two years on the air. He said the network knew he'd get killed during the main TV season, but thought he'd excel against summer re-runs.

Jay said when the network approached him about doing a half-hour show at 11:35 PM, he was hesitant but said getting beat in the ratings humbled him.

He asked the network exec, "Do you think Conan will go for that?" The exec said yes.

Leno repeatedly complemented Conan, calling him a "gentleman" and saying, "Don't blame Conan O'Brien."

At the end of the day, Leno said, neither of them were delivering the ratings they should have been.

272 COMMENTS

No Avatar
76.

moveover    

It's nice to see Leno staying classy ..... especially after today's ridiculous spectacle by Conan's trailor trash pipers.

1552 days ago
77.

lindastrawberry    

DAMAGE CONTROL. The spin machine creaks on.
I'm sorry Mr. Leno but if you truly had respect for Conan or for yourself, you wouldn't be standing on the side of the idiotic NBC executives trying to act like none of this is 'your fault'. No one is going to buy this. Actions speak louder than words delivered with false sincerity. Your action are that you are taking the show (you promise you were giving to Conan peacefully) back, when he never got a fair shot to make it work. Would Carson have done this to you? Let's be honest. All you care about is that you have your show back. I'm not buying this bull. No one is blaming Conan. This is a cheap ploy for sympathy.

1552 days ago
78.

Mike    

So if you think that jay is taking back his show makes him a tool? Let me ask you this, You have a job you enjoy and you have worked at for over 17 years. You have a young upstart who you GIVE the job to and he makes the BOSS unhappy. The BOSS fires him because he want do what they want him to do. Now the job is open and the boss calls you and says "can you take over this job cause we are going to do away with the job your in, will pay you millions!" So the greatest job you have ever had is yours again and you don't take it because I might think your a douche? YEAH!!! RIGHT!!! LIAR!!

1552 days ago
79.

Mr. Brown    

Zucker & Conan were college buddies?! Hardly.

Zucker had Conan arrested while he was at Harvard, actually.

1552 days ago
80.

Me    

It must've taken Jay and his writing staff all day to come up with that spin. Didn't work though.

1552 days ago
81.

Janet    

Blame Tiger. Then blame Conan.

1552 days ago
82.

Will    

What an arrogant Pr*ck! Jay Leno is the past.Time to get in the modern day era and realize COCO is the future.Jay walk away.If you have any respect for the business,Walk away.Total Bull Malarky That NBC wont let you leave.You are a greedy,no talent,material stealing,hack.

No Wonder why so many or your comedy peers cannot stand you.Be a stand up guy for once,and walk.I know its hard with 100 pounds of chin weighing you down,but walk away.Save whatever shred of dignity you have left and just leave.

1552 days ago
83.

shoobydoo    

what a sad state of affairs that this is going on, and that ppl actually care.
have you seen the unimaginable suffering going on in Haiti?
to hear anyone grip over millions of dollars, a time slot, etc is totally disgusting to me.
let's check our priorities.

1552 days ago
84.

Mike    

"It must've taken Jay and his writing staff all day to come up with that spin. Didn't work though"

Read more: http://www.tmz.com/2010/01/18/jay-leno-conan-obrien-the-tonight-show-nbc-monologue/9#c24791772#ixzz0d1m6BHDc

UGH ME NO HAVE NO FREE THOUGHT!!! ME COCO CLONE!!!! UGH ME CAN'T FORM ME OWN CLEAR OBJECTIONS!!! UGH!!!

1552 days ago
85.

Hates Conan like crap    

TO CONAN O'BRIEN'S FANS:

If you had watched him on The Tonight Show in sufficient quantities, none of this would be happening.

CONAN'S RATINGS SUCKED.

He shouldn't be on TV. He can't get a decent audience.

BUH BYE, CONAN. DON'T LET THE DOOR SLAP YOU IN THE ASS ON THE WAY OUT.

1552 days ago
86.

alioha    

Don't blame Conan????? Are you effing serious? NO one is blaming Conan. Everyone is blaming YOU and ZUCKER. YOu deserve each other. No one respects you, Jay. I will not watch you EVER.

1552 days ago
87.

urban    

Don't worry, Jay. We're not blaming Conan. We're blaming YOU.

1552 days ago
88.

DontGetIT    

Explain to me something:
If Conan did not deliver the ratings, and Jay always been #1 during that time, why we all blame Jay? When:
1: Jimmy Kimmel overlaps Conan
2: Letterman same time
3: Conan suppose to be different demographics
4: People of the new generation DONT wantch TV as much due to internet as the old generation.

And after all of that Jay Leno get blamed? For what?
Are you saying that Conan was very good because Jay Leno preceded him, and he couldnt do it on his own? What is the difference now? Is Conan inflated ego so big that he cant admit he couldnt deliver and no one looks at numerous reasonable and true facts - yet find Jay Leno an escape goat?

So again, Kimmel, Letterman do well - Conan does not - and they share/overlap same time spots yet are we so glazed over by thinking everyone loves Conan when reality comes about - we can admit that he is not that popular?

Sad how Kimmel gets to rip into Jay - because somehow he thinks Conan is entitled to that time slot, without producing the nunmbers Jay did, and yet its Jay's fault for that?

Pathetic - just pathetic.


1552 days ago
89.

Sad sad    

Zuckers fault but Jay should have said no too then they really would have been in a delema. Conan's getting the chit end of the stick. Jay had some leverage instead bent over like a betcha.

1552 days ago
90.

Mike    

YEAH!! to CONAN we are blaming you we are blaming your so called fans!!! if your ratings were better you wouldn't be here. NBC lost over 5 million a month on the Tonight show and Letterman kicked your butt!! So cry COCO fans...YOU ARE TOO BLAME!!! So I have a phone number for NBC you can call 1-800-F&CKing-WHAAAAAAAA!!!!!

1552 days ago
Previous 15 Comments | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | Most Recent | Next 15 Comments

Around The Web