Jay Leno tells Oprah about his broken heart

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Jay Lenoand Conan O’Brien apparently have something in common besides hosting ‘The Tonight Show’ -- both have been emotionally crushed by NBC.

In his first sit-down interview since Late-Night-Gate began earlier this month, Leno tells Oprah Winfrey that when NBC executives told him in 2004 that they wanted him to relinquish ‘The Tonight Show’ in 2009 to make way for O’Brien, ‘It broke my heart. It really did. I was devastated,’ Leno said. ‘This was the job that I had always wanted and this was the only job that ever mattered in show business -- to me. It’s the job every comic aspires to. It was just like, why?’

The interview, which airs on ‘The Oprah Winfrey Show’ today, was taped Tuesday on the set of the soon-to-be-defunct ‘The Jay Leno Show.’


For more on what transpired during the interview, including Leno’s admission that he told a ‘white lie’ to TV viewers, go to our sister newspaper, the Chicago Tribune. (The show airs earlier in Chicago than in Los Angeles, where viewers can see it at 3 p.m. on KABC-TV Channel 7.)

Do you think NBC was as clueless about hurting Leno’s feelings as it was about O’Brien’s disappointment over the network’s plans to push ‘The Tonight Show’ to 12:05 a.m. so it could cancel Leno’s prime-time show and air a half-hour comedy show hosted by him at 11:35 p.m.?

-- Maria Elena Fernandez (follow me on Twitter @writerchica)

Video: Jay Leno on ‘The Oprah Winfrey Show.’

Credit. Harpo Productions


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First Look: Oprah asks Jay Leno tough questions

Conan O’Brien signs off