Leno began his stint with The Tonight Show on uncertain ground. His selection over Late Night host David Letterman had been controversial, and for years he lagged behind Letterman in the ratings. NBC executives were beginning to question their decision when, in 1995, an interview with Hugh Grant ended up saving the careers of both Leno and the charmingly befuddled English actor.
Grant’s appearance on The Tonight Show was his first since being caught with a prostitute less than two weeks earlier. Leno didn’t waste any time asking the question on everyone’s lips: “What the hell were you thinking?” Grant’s straightforward answers and candid apology helped repair his public image and catapult Leno out of the late-night basement.
Next Quentin Tarantino