Andy Richter doesn't buy that Jay Leno had to go along with NBC in the shuffle that cut short Conan O'Brien's reign as Tonight Show host, sarcastically saying, "multimillionaires are always being forced to do things."
He also said going on tour with O'Brien was a "distinct possibility."
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Guest-hosting on Tuesday's Live with Regis & Kelly, O'Brien's announcer-sidekick said he still has hard feelings toward NBC — and Leno.
"Everybody said they were going to do something and then they didn't," he said.
After taking over last June, O'Brien refused to have the late-night franchise pushed back to 12:05 a.m. in January. That would have made room for a half-hour show with Leno, whose daily prime-time program had turned into a ratings albatross for NBC. O'Brien received a $45 million settlement, and some $12 million of that went to his staffers, many of whom had moved from New York to California.
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"I've got to be careful ... I do! I have children! I still need work," Richter hedged when Kelly Ripa urged him to say more. "But it is. It's very frustrating, when somebody says — and especially when they're on videotape — saying, 'I'm going to take this No. 1 show and hand it over and hope the next guy makes it a No. 1 show,' and then doesn't."
Without mentioning Leno by name, the star of the short-lived series Andy Richter Controls the Universe went on to say, "[He] says, like ... 'I didn't have any choice, they wouldn't let me out of my contract.' You know how multimillionaires are always being forced to do things they don't want to do."
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Richter, who appeared to enjoy getting things off his chest in his first TV appearance since leaving late night, reiterated his frustration, adding: "I've calmed down about it."
Still, he never expected to be have such a short stint.
"I thought, I'm on The Tonight Show. That's as good as it gets in show business. I'm a tenured professor of show business now," he said. "And I guess I'm really good at getting kicked off the air because that's what I've been doing for the last 10 years."