So much for talk show host brotherhood.
“I can’t think of anything I’d do different,” Leno told host Andy Cohen in a round of “Plead the Fifth” below:
In one of the messier moments in late-night show TV history, O’Brien replaced Leno as host of “The Tonight Show” in 2009, and NBC gave Leno a new show at 10 p.m. But within months, the network grew restless because of the low ratings for both and pushed to move Leno’s show to 11:35 p.m. and relegate “The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien” to after midnight. O’Brien balked and NBC restored Leno to host “The Tonight Show.” O’Brien moved on to TBS (where on Tuesday he unveiled a new half-hour format of “Conan.”)
Leno has been vilified by some for his reluctance to cede the spotlight. But Leno suggested to Cohen that his replacing O’Brien was out of his hands.
“Look, they’re ratings-based shows,” Leno said. “People act like it’s your decision. ‘Well, you know, I think I’ll go back.’ The network makes these decisions. They decide when you’re going to leave and they decide they want you to come back. So there’s not a lot different I would have done.”
Leno, who stayed on as host of “The Tonight Show” until 2014, had more to say about another infamous talk show feud with David Letterman, as seen in the video below.