Jay Leno
Oprah: Going to the primetime show, did that sort of make up for losing The Tonight Show?

Jay: Yes, in a way it did. There's nothing like that. I mean, you're going into uncharted territory, essentially. It's a lot more competitive. When you're on late night, I know I'm against Dave every night, and I know if he has Oprah on that night, ... I'm in trouble. But if I know he's got so and so, I know I'm okay, so we could book against that. To try and book against the CSI "evil twin" episode, that's going to be very hard to do.

Oprah: And was it true—I had heard this—that there were other networks who wanted you to fail and, therefore, weren't allowing their people [on your show]?

Jay: Well, of course they always want you to fail. The unusual thing was they actually boycotted us, and they actually said that in the trades. And it was a calculated effort to keep their guests off our show. I get that. That's fine. That's not an excuse for why the show failed. It's just another level of competition that did not exist.

Oprah: So it made it more difficult to get guests.

Jay: Oh, way more difficult. Oh yeah, "Please welcome the animals from the San Diego Zoo, ladies and gentlemen." It's hard to get those stars.

Oprah: Why do you think the show failed?

Jay: Well, I think the show failed because it was basically a late-night talk show at 10 p.m. You're competing against dramas that [cost] $3 [million] to $6 million an episode.

FROM: Jay Leno: The Tonight Show Fiasco
Published on January 28, 2010


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