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Oprah to Jay Leno: 'Memba Conan?

1/27/2010 4:49 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF

Jay Leno told Oprah what he already told TMZ -- that he and Conan O'Brien haven't said a word to each other since the beginning of the NBC mess.

Jay Leno: Click to watch
In a preview of his big one-on-one with Oprah, Jay says he wanted to have a convo with Conan -- but thought "it didn't seem appropriate."

82 COMMENTS

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61.

King    

"I am a great fan of Jay and his show. He is a great entertainer and had a great sense of humor."

Well, isn't it great that you have such a great vocabulary?

1698 days ago
62.

King    

"Appropriate to take Conan's job but not appropriate to call."

Yeah, I was wondering what he could have found potentially "inappropriate" about such a call?

1698 days ago
63.

GeneNash_com    

That's not Frank Caliendo under a ton of latex? Damn, lay off the Doritos, dude!

1697 days ago
64.

Wellington    

I just got done viewing "The Late Shift" again. NBC did basically the same thing with Leno and O'Brien as they did with Leno and Letterman. The names have changed of the NBC suits but the tactics are the same. What was not mentioned here that as a result of being permanent guest host of the Tonight Show CBS offered Jay his own late night talk show opposite Carson. NBC didn't want Jay to leave so they offered to give him the Tonight Show when Carson retired. Sounds familiar doesn't it? It was NBC that insisted the agreement be kept secret so it didn't look like NBC was trying to push Carson out the door. NBC had the same rationale as now. They wanted a younger demographic while Carson just appealed to "blue hair old ladies".

After that there was an article planted that Carson was planning to retire. Jay directly asked his manager, Helen Kushnick, if she had planted the article. She denied that she had. It was shortly after that Carson announced he was going to retire the following year on his 30th anniversary. Carson didn’t tell NBC he was going to make that announcement. For the next year the media speculated on whether Leno or Letterman was going to get the Tonight Show. When Carson finally retired NBC told Letterman that they had already signed Leno, but they still wanted Letterman to stay at Late Night. Letterman had in his contract that if he didn’t get the Tonight Show NBC would pay him $1 million (not much). The contract the Letterman signed made it almost impossible for him to get out of it. Letterman then hired high powered agent, Mike Ovitz. Ovitz figured a way to get around the NBC contract so Letterman could field offers. Letterman still wanted the Tonight Show though and wanted to use another offer as leverage at NBC.

In the meantime Leno took over the Tonight Show , but his manager, Helen Kushnick, who also became executive producer of the Tonight Show was creating a lot of problems. She was always very aggressive, but then got completely out of control and became abusive to everyone including Leno. She was strong-arming celebrities with bookings. At that point NBC fired her. Leno was torn because she had helped him so much in his career and had gone through a lot of personal tragedies—her son had died of AIDS and her husband had died of cancer.

When she was fired she wanted Leno to walk out with her. During an argument, she told him that she had been the one who planned the story about Carson. That was the last straw for him and he walked out on her. While this was going on NBC then offered to give the Tonight Show to Letterman at the end of Leno’s contract. At that point CBS had offered Letterman a show. Letterman then called Carson and asked his advice. Carson advised him to take the CBS offer which he did.

IMO it’s NBC suits who were responsible for both these messes.

1697 days ago
65.

Bobo Frog    

Wellington...STFU.

1697 days ago
66.

Wellington    

73. Wellington...STFU.

Posted at 1:13PM on Jan 28th 2010 by Bobo Frog

Read more: http://www.tmz.com/2010/01/27/oprah-to-jay-leno-memba-conan/5#c25055701#ixzz0dvuP9qal

What's wrong, Bobo? Can't you handle the truth?

It's not my version of what happened. It was in the movie made 14 years ago based on the book.

For God's sake, grow up.

1697 days ago
67.

lana    

Why nobody questions if it was selfish of conan to ask nbc to give him leno`s dream job to begin with.

1697 days ago
68.

Tyler    

Sadly, I used to like Jay but even I'll admit that I can't watch him after this. No matter how he'd like to play it off, he did have a choice in the matter and he renegotiated a new contract that shafted his colleague. In response to the low ratings for Conan... New Show + Crappy Lead-in = NBC panic

1697 days ago
69.

jae    

Of course Oprah's fans are on Jay's side. Some of them even said he's honest, loyal, kind, etc etc... I think they were all over age 50.

1696 days ago
70.

Claire    

I don't see what good the two comics talking to each other would do. Additionally, Oprah's pressing of this issue is kind of a sign that she's missing the point of the whole debate -- that NBC has created this huge mess, and it's now being dumped on the people who make a very small percentage of the network's profits. I found this video that gives more perspective of the whole Oprah situation and her aggressive line of questioning: http://bit.ly/93lJhu

1693 days ago
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