Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Jay Leno talks about Conan's "growing pains"

Tavis Smiley is doing a two-part interview with Jay Leno on his PBS show. The first part aired last night, but Talk Show News' home station, KQED, is in the middle of a pledge drive, which means regular programming is off and "fund raising" programming ("Chris Botti Live in Boston," "Brain Fitness 2," "Dolly Parton: Live in London," "Stay Rich Forever & Ever") is on. I'm glad KQED-FM doesn't operate the same way, or they'd no doubt be playing the Eagles and Fleetwood Mac instead of "All Things Considered" during pledge. Ugh.

Luckily, though, Tavis' web site posts MP3s of his interviews, so I was able to listen to Part 1 of his sit-down with Jay. There weren't a lot of blazing new insights -- if you followed the news about Jay's TCA panel, you had already heard some of his answers verbatim. Tavis asked him about the stories he's sad he missed while he was off the air (#1: Gov. Mark Sanford -- "When you're married, you don't call your girlfriend your soul mate! You idiot!"), and about Conan's sagging ratings, which led to this exchange:

Tavis: You've been so busy working on your own show, you may not have read the news that "The Tonight Show" has lost something like 2 million viewers under Conan.

Jay: I hadn't heard that.

Tavis: (laughter)

Jay: To be fair, Conan's going through the exact same thing I went through when I took over from Johnny. "You stink, you suck. It's a travesty that they replaced Johnny with someone--" Whoever has the job goes through this. It's all part of the growing pains. It goes down for a while and then it comes back up again. I don't think it's fair to judge Conan on what's happened in a month or two. It's the exact same thing I went through. I got beat up for like 4-5 months and you still go out with your chin up, fight the good fight. Then one day Newsweek had a story, "What's So Bad About Leno?" They had some jokes of mine they thought were funny, and it turned around. So that's what happened. Conan was #1 for 17 years in a row in his spot. OK, he moves to another spot, it takes a while to find himself.

Tonight: Part 2, including more about his relationship with his parents -- and with David Letterman.


  1. Judd said...

    Jay really went out with his chin up.


  2. arsenio said...

    Leno is such a douche