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First Look: Oprah asks Jay Leno tough questions

January 27, 2010 | 10:07 am


The Conan O'Brien saga at NBC may be over, but Jay Leno's may just be beginning.

As the entire planet knows, Leno will take over "The Tonight Show" again in March, but he has a lot of work ahead in terms of public relations. His damage-control tour begins Thursday when he chats with "Oprah" from his Burbank studio about the late-night fiasco and his future. The interview was taped on Tuesday.

From a trailer on Oprah.com, we know that Oprah will ask Leno the questions many in the TV industry -- and fans -- have been asking themselves since Jan. 7 when Late-Night-Gate begin.

"When they asked you to go back, did you ever think, "I'm taking away Conan's dream?"

"America has taken sides and a lot of people are not on your side. Did you ever ask yourself, well, am I being selfish?"

"Do you think you could be No. 1 again?"

The clip only shows Leno responding, "This whole thing was a huge mess."  But those are mighty good questions, huh?

Today, Harpo Productions gave The Times the video clip above, which shows the following discussion between the Queen of Daytime and the Wanna-be-King-Again of Late Night.

Oprah:  Have you talked to Conan in person? 

Leno:  I haven't talked to him through all this.  No.  I haven't.

Oprah:  Did you want to pick up the phone?

Leno:  Yeah, but it didn't seem appropriate.

Oprah:  Why?

Leno:  I don't know.  I think it -- let things cool down and maybe we'll talk, you know.

Oprah:  Were any of the things that he said about you hurtful?

Leno:  No.  They were jokes.  And that's OK. I mean --

Oprah:  So jokes don't hurt you.

Leno:  It's what we do, you know?  You can't -- it's like being a fighter and say when you got punched in the head, did it hurt?  Well, yeah.  But you're a fighter.  That's what you do.

"The Oprah Winfrey Show" airs in Los Angeles at 3 p.m. on KABC.

-- Maria Elena Fernandez (follow me on Twitter @writerchica)

Video: Jay Leno talks to Oprah about his late-night problems. Credit: Harpo Productions

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