Conan O’Brien has made quite a name for himself in the television industry as if his popularity doesn’t extend beyond the television screen. Having already worked on and hosted various late-night talk shows, the comedian was already destined for greatness considering he was a top-of-the-class graduate from the prestigious Harvard University where he majored in History & Literature.
Despite his popularity and fame, O’Brien is also a very smart man. Jay Leno on the other hand, has to be one of the most hated or disrespected talk-show hosts, not only in the late-night business but in other fields of entertainment as well. He also happens to be the one man that O’Brien has refused to interview, and he has his reasons.
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Conan O’Brien Has Bitter History With Jay Leno
No one wants to work or associate with someone who tried to actively put them down. No matter how long it has been since anything bad happened, letting that person back into your life would mean accepting defeat.
Jay Leno, much like Conan O’Brien, is a television host with expertise in the field of comedy and acting. He became the host of NBC’s The Tonight Show in the early 90s, and he would continue to do so until a rising O’Brien came along to give him competition as the main man.
Well, O’Brien was technically hired to take over as the host which understandably angered Leno, but orders are orders and you have to accept them. In fact, he was already told in advance that his time as the host of The Tonight Show was over, which he reacted to negatively.
This all happened in 2009. NBC, as a compromise, even offered Leno a nightly primetime show which would air before the local news came on, after which O’Brien would start off his new job as the main host of The Tonight Show.
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The 72-year-old didn’t budge and made further complaints. NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Zucker, NBC Chairman Jeff Gaspin, and executive Rick Ludwin came up with a ‘solution’ to the whole mess- give Leno his 11:35 PM ET slot as it was before and allot the 12:05 AM ET slot to O’Brien.
Of course, Conan O’Brien was not tolerant of such a compromise, and because it would only make sense to leave the network, he did. The 59-year-old left with style too- he got a $45 million grant and became a member of TBS where hosted Conan instead.
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Conan O’Brien Will Never Interview Jay Leno, He Said It Himself Back Then
The indirect feud between Jay Leno and Conan O’Brien, mediated by NBC, had become a very popular topic at the time. But it has been more than a decade since the event passed, and everyone’s moved onto greener pastures.
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But there still seems to be some bad blood between the two popular television talk show hosts, or at least O’Brien still has some grudges. When the whole situation unfolded in 2010, months after he left NBC, O’Brien gave an interview with Playboy, where he admitted that he would never have Leno on his new talk show-
“He can come as the musical guest, because that I want to see; no one knows he has an operatic range.”
“No, there are certain things I will not do, regardless of the price.”
These words are decades old, but at least O’Brien stayed true to his word. TBS’ Conan, hosted by the man himself, never saw his contemporary appear in an interview on it ever!
Conan O’Brien’s weekly podcast- Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend- is available for streaming on Spotify.
Source: The Things