VIDEO: Jay Leno Talks In-Depth on 'Tonight Show' Departure; Watch 60 MINUTES Interview in Full
In his first in-depth interview about his departure from LATE NIGHT, Jay Leno revealed how he felt losing his job twice and tells 60 Minutes Steve Kroft he never saw it coming. Watch last night's exclusive interview in full below!
"I was blindsided... [NBC executives said], 'You're out,' and I went 'okay.'" said Leno who revealed that he never asked NBC why, but the news hurt him like a romantic breakup. "You know, you have a girl [who] says, 'I don't want to see you anymore.' Why? You know, she doesn't want to see you anymore, okay?"
He also shared that he was devastated to be portrayed as the bad guy when NBC took the popular O'Brien off the "Tonight Show" when its ratings tanked. "I didn't quite understand that, but I never chose to answer any of those things or make fun of any other people involved," he tells Kroft. "It's not my way."
Fallon will take over the "Tonight Show" on Feb. 17. Leno praised him. "It's not my decision and I think I probably would have stayed if we didn't have an extremely qualified, young guy ready to jump in. [Jimmy Fallon] is probably more like a young Johnny [Carson] than almost anybody since. And he's really good. So you go with the new guy. Makes perfect sense to me." Watch an excerpt. Asked if he would have preferred to stay, Leno says, "Well, it's always nice to keep working. Sure it is... But am I extremely grateful. Yeah."
Kroft also interviewed his wife, Mavis, and he accompanies the late night legend to his home town of Andover, Mass., where he got his comedy start in a talent Contest surrounding the promotion of McDonald's' Fillet-o-Fish sandwich.
More On: 60 Minutes, NBC, Contest.