As he prepares to step down once again, Jay Leno is finally speaking out about when he first lost The Tonight Show to Conan O'Brien in 2009.
"I was blindsided. ... [NBC executives said], 'You're out,' and I went 'okay,'" Leno told Steve Kroft in an interview that will air on Sunday's 60 Minutes.
When NBC reinstated Leno after O'Brien failed in the ratings, the long-time host said he was pained to be portrayed as the villain. "I didn't quite understand that, but I never chose to answer any of those things or make fun of any other people involved," Leno said. "It's not my way."
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But Leno has nothing but goodwill towards his new replacement Jimmy Fallon, who is taking over Feb. 17. "It's not my decision and I think I probably would have stayed if we didn't have an extremely qualified, young guy ready to jump in. Sure, I probably would have stayed a little longer ... but [Jimmy Fallon] is probably more like a young Johnny [Carson] than almost anybody since. And he's really good. So you go with the new guy. Makes perfect sense to me."
Watch a preview of Leno's interview below.
60 Minutes airs Sundays at 7/6c on CBS.
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