The Tonight Show Controversy
Jay: Yeah. ... Well, what happened was Conan's contract was up, and ABC, I think, and some other networks were making overtures.
Oprah: To Conan.
Jay: And NBC didn't want to lose him.
Oprah: So they asked you to move out to make room for Conan and promised Conan The Tonight Show spot even though your show was number one at the time. ... So that broke your heart?
Jay: Yeah, it really did. I mean, I was devastated. I'm not a person who carries my emotion on the sleeve. But you know something? I'm happy with what I had. It was a tremendous success up to that point. [I thought], "I'm going to do the best I can to keep it number one for the next five years."
Oprah: At the end of that five-year period, 2009, what were you going to do?
Jay: Well, I did tell a white lie on the air. I said, "I'm going to retire." It just made it easier that way. But I assumed I would find a job in show business somewhere if I kept The Tonight Show number one.