Jay Leno on 'Tonight Show' exit: 'It's not my decision'

The "Tonight Show" host spoke to "60 Minutes" about his upcoming departure from late night.
Posted By Kate Stanton  |  Jan. 26, 2014 at 8:27 PM
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Jan. 26 (UPI) -- During an exit interview with CBS News, Jay Leno got candid about his almost-departure from the Tonight Show four years ago, when he controversially returned after Conan O'Brien's brief stint behind the desk.

"I was blindsided," the 63-year-old comedian told 60 Minutes of 2009's short-lived shake up. "[NBC said] 'You're out...' and I went 'okay.'"

This time around, Leno said he got plenty of notice. NBC announced in April of last year that Jimmy Fallon would be replacing him next month.

“It’s not my decision,” Leno said. “And I think I probably would have stayed if we didn’t have… an extremely qualified, young guy ready to jump in."

Leno said Fallon has his blessing.

"If they said, ‘Look, you’re fired. We don’t know who we’re going to get. We don’t know what we’re going to put in there. But anybody but you, we just want you out of–’ I would be hurt and offended. But this makes perfect sense to me. I understand this.”

"It's always nice to keep working. Sure it is," Leno said when he was asked if he would have preferred to keep his job. "But am I extremely grateful. Yeah."

Meanwhile, Fallon has started releasing promos ahead of his debt. He starts his hosting duties February 17.

[CBS News]

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