Photo Credit: NBC
Conan O'Brien stepped into Jay Leno's shoes in June 2009 as host of The Tonight Show, but it's safe to say O'Brien no longer wants to follow in anyone's footsteps. Portions of Sunday's 60 Minutes interview with O'Brien (contractually, he could not appear on television until May 1) prove that his feelings about his former colleague are less than fond.
According to The New York Times, O'Brien, 47, told Steve Kroft about Leno's decision to reclaim his 11:35 p.m. time slot. "If I had surrendered The Tonight Show and handed it over to somebody publicly and wished them well...and then... six months later..." he explained. "He went and took that show back and I think in a similar situation, if roles had been reversed, I know me, I wouldn't have done that."
"Everyone's got their own, you know, way of doing things," O'Brien said, noting that if he were in Leno's position, he would have "done something else, go someplace else." The funny man, who has since taken his show on the road with the "Legally Prohibited From Being Funny on Television" tour, assessed his own culpability in the debacle by saying, "I sleep well at night."
But O'Brien's relationship with Leno isn't the only one that became tainted. People reports that in the interview O'Brien compared departing NBC to ending a "toxic" relationship and he "started to feel that I'm not sure these people even really want me here."
Despite leaving on sour terms, O'Brien says, "I don’t regret anything...not one decision I made." In fact, he remains as optimistic as ever, emphasizing that "life is too short" to worry about what happened.
"I believe things happen for a reason," he said. And one reason he may be feeling upbeat is that his fans ("Team Conan") will soon get their late-night fix when O'Brien returns to TV on his new TBS series, debuting this fall.
60 Minutes airs on CBS this Sunday (7 p.m. ET).
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