"Tonight" show host Jay Leno took a swipe at Conan O'Brien in his monologue Tuesday, two days afteraired on CBS. O'Brien told the newsmagazine that, if he were in Leno's shoes, he would not have taken back the "Tonight" show perch the way Leno did from him.
Leno took a shot at O'Brien when he joked about a supposed Facebook page kept by Faisal Shahzad, the man accused of planting a car bomb in Times Square. The camera panned over the fake page to groups that Shahzad was a member of, and one of them was "Team Coco."
That's the name taken by a group of O'Brien fans angry at his treatment by NBC, which they say forced him off the network beginning late last year.
O'Brien, then the newly installed host of "The Tonight Show," quit in January after the network announced it was going to push "The Tonight Show" into tomorrow, and to give its traditional time slot back to O'Brien's predecessor Jay Leno. It triggered a lot of bad publicity for NBC, an outpouring of public support for O'Brien, and some of the best late night jokes in a decade.
O'Brien walked away with a $32 million settlement and a new cable show, and NBC did its best to push him into oblivion, legally prohibiting him from saying anything false or disparaging about the network, and from giving interviews or appearing on television - until his landmark "60 Minutes" appearance May 2.
"I went through some stuff. And I got very depressed at times. It was like a marriage breaking up suddenly, violently, quickly. And I was just trying to figure out what happened," O'Brien told correspondent Steve Kroft.
O'Brien was cordial toward NBC in the interview, limiting his criticisms to comments that the environment didn't feel right and that he would have handled the situation differently had he been in Leno's position.
"The biggest thing people come up and say to me in gas stations and restaurants, I have so many people say this to me, 'Hey partner, you got screwed.' I don't, and I always tell them, 'No, I didn't. I didn't get screwed. I'm fine. It just didn't work out,'" O'Brien said.
"It's hard for me to get inside his head and argue his side of this whole thing. Here's what I can say: I'm happy with my decision. I sleep well at night. And I hope he's happy with his decision," O'Brien said of Leno.
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