In an interview on 60 Minutes airing this Sunday, late-night comic Conan O’Brien tells 60 Minutes if he was in Jay Leno’s position –ousted from primetime and looking at a return to late-night — he would have “Done something else, go someplace else. I mean, that’s just me.”
O’Brien left NBC — with a $33 million settlement — after a bitter divorce from the network, which decided to reinstall Leno in its marquee late-night show after his primetime program, The Jay Leno Show, bombed. NBC tried to please both comics by offering Leno a half-hour show at 11:35 PM and letting O’Brien keep The Tonight Show and begin a half hour later. O’Brien said no and Leno, who never wanted to leave Tonight in the first place, returned to the helm of the program.
In Conan’s interview with Steve Kroft, his first since the debacle last February, the funny guy – whose new TBS late night series will debut in November – said had the roles been reversed, he would’ve handled things differently.
“He went and took that show back and I think in a similar situation, if roles had been reversed, I know … I know me, I wouldn’t have done that,” O’Brien said. “If I had surrendered ‘The Tonight Show’ and handed it over to somebody publicly and wished them well and then … six months later, but that’s me, you know. Everyone’s got their own, you know, way of doing things.”