Jay Leno appeared on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” Thursday afternoon to discuss the much talked about NBC late-night debacle. Over the past month he and Conan O’Brien have been at the center of a major media frenzy that’s caused much of the country to take sides. When he spoke to Winfrey in a sit down interview, his attempt to gain sympathy from viewers may have fallen on deaf ears…
If there was one thing that Jay Leno blamed for the current late night shuffle it would be the ratings. That was his whole argument during yesterday’s show. The words “numbers” and “show business” popped up multiple times as his reason for why both his and Conan’s shows failed with audiences. He also stated that he had no idea that NBC would offer him “The Tonight Show” again once O’Brien decided to walk away from the 12:05 time slot they pitched.
Leno feels as if he’s been painted as a villain in this scenario, who appears selfish for taking back a program he promised someone five years prior. According to him, the reason he decided to do the 10 o’clock show and “The Tonight Show” AGAIN was mainly because of his staff.
“You say to the 170 people who work here, ‘Listen, I don’t want to get my reputation ruined, I don’t want anyone talking bad about me. I’ve got enough money. You people can all fend for yourself.’ That’s… the selfish thing to do.”
That’s interesting considering the fact that thousands of people lost their jobs when all those primetime dramas were wiped out for his show. Oprah brought up the irony of that statement and Leno replied with, “I wasn’t thinking about that at the time.” We’re sure you weren’t Jay.
A lot of his interview came off as cold and nonchalant, which in no way made me feel for his case. When “The Tonight Show” returns in March with Leno at the helm, I’m not sure he’ll have the same numbers as before. There’s a bad part of him that’s been exposed to the general public that has changed his image forever.
Did you watch the Oprah interview? Did you think Leno was genuine or cold?