Jay Leno, and his wife, Mavis, told "60 Minutes" last night, Sunday, Jan 26, 2014, that Leno was not the bad guy when he returned to host the "Tonight" show after it had been promised to Conan O’Brien. Here’s a transcript of that part of the interview:
Transcript furnished by "60 Minutes":
WHAT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE AN ORDERLY TRANSITION INSTEAD TURNED INTO AN UNSCRIPTED REALITY SHOW THAT PLAYED OUT EVERY NIGHT ON LATE NIGHT TELEVISION
O’BRIEN FROM TONIGHT SHOW: Hosting the tonight show has been fulfillment of a life-long dream for me … . And I just want to say to the kids out there watching: You can do anything you want in life. Unless Jay Leno wants to do it too.
STEVE KROFT: You were the bad guy. You were portrayed as bein’ the bad guy.
JAY LENO: Yeah, I — I didn’t quite understand that. But I never chose to answer any of those things or make fun of any of the other people involved. It’s — it’s not my way And you just go and you be a comedian and you do what you do.
MAVIS LENO: I’m sorry. This is a subject I’m very, very angry about to this day.
JAY’S WIFE, MAVIS, WAS MUCH MORE UPSET THAN HER HUSBAND
MAVIS: It made me angry because there was this perception that for some reason Jay had decided to give up the show. It was like he gave the show to Conan and then he took it back. That was not what happened, OK? (LAUGH) That was not what happened.
KROFT: There were a lot of people that felt you should have just — a lotta people including Conan …
KROFT: … felt that you just sort of said — should have gone off to — to ABC or to Fox or to someplace else and not …
JAY: Well, you know something? NBC is my home. Don’t forget, back in 2004, I went into work one day and, hey, you lost your show. What? So suddenly it was taken from me, and then they said, "We want to give it back to you." I said, "Fine."
Conan O’Brien and Jay Leno in happier days