So 60 Minutes aired its full Steve Kroft exit interview with Jay Leno Sunday night, and as the program has been doing lately with Amazon, the NSA, the dubious Benghazi whistleblower, et al., it pretty much let Leno give his side of the story unchallenged. He talked about being pushed aside by NBC for younger Late Night host Conan O’Brien (it was terrible!) and being pushed aside by NBC for younger Late Night host Jimmy Fallon (it’s totally fine!).
But there was one slight bit of pushback by Kroft on Leno’s talk about his latest replacement, which is essentially the only part of the interview worth close attention if you’re interested in Leno’s actual thoughts on the matter:
STEVE KROFT: You said all of the same things, exactly, about Conan.
JAY LENO: Huh? Did I say the same things? Yeah, prob–well, maybe I did, yeah. Well, we’ll see what happens. [LAUGH]
Ha, ha, ha! Yes, we’ll see. I wrote about this at more length on Friday and you’re welcome to go back and read it, but in a nutshell:
Jay’s saying nice things now (he’s even going on the Today show with Fallon to say more of them). But don’t forget that, when NBC first started readying to replace him with Fallon, he was calling its executives “snakes.” Don’t assume that Jay’s A-OK with being pushed out now. And don’t assume that he’s gone for good, if anyone presents him a reasonable alternative TV gig. (Yes, he did tell Kroft that he wouldn’t launch a competing late-night show. He also once said The Jay Leno Show would probably be the last TV show he did. There are other channels, other time slots, and, well… things change.)
So what’s different now from 2009? NBC has handled the PR much better. So far. We’ll see what happens! [LAUGH]