Late-Nightmare

Leno's Side of the Story

Better late than never? Jay Leno will finally weigh in on the meltdown at NBC on The Jay Leno Show Monday night, according to an early transcript released by the network. Leno tells his side of the late-night debacle, describing how the network originally approached him to move to the 11:35 p.m. time slot for a half-hour show, which would push Conan O’Brien to 12:05 p.m. “I said, ‘OK, I’m not crazy about doing a half hour, but OK,’ Leno says. “What do you want to do with Conan? We’ll put him on at midnight, or 12:05, keeps The Tonight Show does all that, he gets the whole hour. I said, OK. You think Conan will go for that? Yes, yes. (laughter) Almost guarantee you. I said OK. Shake hands, that’s it. I don’t have a manager, I don’t have an agent, that’s my handshake deal. Next thing I see Conan has a story in the paper saying he doesn’t want to do that.” Leno continues: “But through all of this—through all of this, Conan O’Brien has been a gentleman. He’s a good guy. I have no animosity toward him. This is all business… That was NBC’s solution. It didn’t work so we might have an answer for you tomorrow. So, we’ll see. That’s basically where it is."