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Conan O'Brien speaks out on '60 Minutes'

Getprev In his first interview since he left NBC, Conan O'Brien tells "60 Minutes" that he would have left NBC rather than do what Jay Leno did to him.

In excerpts released by CBS today, O'Brien is quoted as saying to Steve Kroft: "He went and took that show back and I think in a similar situation, if roles had been reversed, I know -- I know me, I wouldn't have done that," O'Brien said. "If I had surrendered 'The Tonight Show' and handed it over to somebody publicly and wished them well -- and then ... six months later. But that's me, you know. Everyone's got their own, you know, way of doing things."

Asked by Kroft what he would have done, O'Brien replied: "Done something else, go someplace else. I mean, that's just me."

O'Brien eventually left NBC, which paid him a reported $33 million to do so. O'Brien told Kroft that he didn't see the point in giving his all in a relationship that seemed to have no future.

"I think this relationship is going be toxic and maybe we just need to go our separate ways," he said. "That's really how it felt to me ... and I started to feel that I'm not sure these people even really want me here .... I can't do it [anymore]."

TBS announced earlier this month that O'Brien will join the network in November to host a talk show.

The "60 Minutes" interview airs on Sunday at 7 p.m.

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

Photo: Conan O'Brien on tour April 25 in Los Angeles. Credit: Noel Vasquez/Getty Images


Conan O'Brien kicks off his tour

Conan O'Brien will own part of his own show as part of his deal with TBS

Conan O'Brien signs off

Comments () | Archives (20)

It's too bad that Conan (for legal reasons)must not say what he really feels about NBC and Leno. That would make for a truly interesting interview. Still, O'Bien needn't say a word for the rest of the world to realize what a back-stabbing sleaze Leno is.

Conan is great but for his TBS show, he should never do stand-up in front of something that looks like a shower curtain much like in his "Tonight Show" run. A curtain and a dark set rather than blasting light everywhere is best. Those distracting brown lines against bright blue clashing with his vampire tone made me want to stay away. Still it was better than the color arrangement of relentless evil on Jay's Tonight Show. Comedy should never be presented against bright blinding lights.


Lord Sandwich

Conan, you got paid
stop crying

Conan is funny, but he won't get the numbers he had at NBC (and those were low). I guess any number for his show on cable is good. But I agree with Ken, stop crying already. You made a lot of $$$.

I always liked watching Conan and thought he was a brilliant host--funny, charming, quirky, a comic genius who wasn't appreciated enough by the masses. It was a shame the ratings were so bad until the last couple weeks when everyone tuned in. Dang those monologues blasting NBC were so funny! This whole disaster is not as simple as saying Jay Leno was the bad guy in this. Leno never wanted to leave the Tonight Show in the first place but the stupid NBC execs forced him out because they wanted to go younger and hipper with Conan, but of course they couldn't let Leno go to a rival, so they created a new show for him, and we all know what happened next. Leno and O'Brien were never very close buddies to begin with so it's not like Jay has to apologize profusely for taking away O'Brien's gig--it was all strictly business. Conan got paid handsomely to leave so we don't need to shed any tears for him. Business as usual...nothing wrong with that.

Ken and JAM might have missed Conan's statement to his fans to not feel sorry for him in part because he was going to get paid very well. That did not change his opinion that what happened to him was wrong and frankly, I agree with him.

Funny thing is, Leno got plenty of negative press, was vilified by fellow celebs... and he's still kicking tail in the ratings.

Shouldn't this story be filed in the food section under w(h)ine?

Yo, Ken and Jam, I don't think he's crying. He was asked a question, and that's his answer. Find something else to nitpick on.

what a winer. He gets 35 million to do nothing. He acts like he's entitled to the Tonight show.

Isn't it easy to blather on about what you would have done when there's no evidence to support that statement?

Get over it! you ratings were terrible and you were getting handled by Letterman. Sorry, Jay's just got better appeal...

He was not funny, and got very poor ratings. Then they PAID HIM $33 MILLION...to leave...I'd say he's the luckiest guy in showbiz.

i don't think conan is crying at all. it's an interview - is he not allowed to give straight forward answers during an interview? sheesh.

I'm just saying defending millionaires over other millionaires is kinda pointless.
People forget, Conan " took" Leno's job first.
I thought Jay got screwed before Conan did.

Its a numbers game and Conan lost.
Since when does the talent make programming decisions anyway?
Conan's show is better as a highlight.

Jon, I think Conan can say whatever he wants on the actual interview because the actual episode airs after May. I believe that was the agreement.
CBS just cant do any promotion leading towards that date.

If Conan really wanted to succeed as the host of the Tonight Show. he should hired Leno's writers.

The stuff he did on the 12:35 show wasnt going to work on the 11:35 spot.
It seemed Conan was struggling with material for the Tonight Show.
Lot of the "safe" bit just werent funny.
Thats where writing comes in.
I can see people switching channels during the "Twitter Tracker" bit.

Conan always looked nervous and umcomfortable to me.

Leno didn't steal the Tonight Show from Conan O'Brien. He lost it because he was bleeding viewers like a cut artery. His stint on the show just wasn't that good.

You rock Coco!!!

Letterman did a hilarious Leno impression (and showed Conan some love) on Regis & Kelly today: http://bit.ly/9LAMi9

I respect Conan for being so honest. I was very disappointed when I attended the Tonight Show with Jay Leno. He is very much in love with the celebrity culture. I noticed that fans cheer him for saying things, and don't really laugh much. He is simply not that funny.

It's not about the money. He loves to work and entertain us I wish people would get that. I love him and would watch him do any kind of show. I am so glad he is back!


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