January 15th, 2010
09:39 AM ET

Transcript: "The Jay Leno Show" monologue, 1/14/2010

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Jay Leno didn’t harp on NBC’s troubles for long in his opening monologue for “The Jay Leno Show,” but he did manage to sneak in a punch aimed directly at Conan O’Brien before dropping the subject.

Here’s the transcript:

“Welcome to the new show, ‘I’m a celebrity, get me off NBC!’

In other TV news, Sarah Palin has signed with Fox News to be a correspondent. Fox says if she does a good job, they’ll sign her to a long-term contract. And if it doesn’t work out, they’ll just blame Leno.

With all the controversy going on here at NBC, actually, ‘The Tonight Show’ with Conan O’Brien’s ratings have gone up. So you’re welcome.”

soundoff (32 Responses)
  1. D. Brown

    And another point...everyone assumes that Jay is going back to the Tonight Show.......but what happens if he leaves too?

    January 17, 2010 at 7:23 pm | Report abuse |
  2. D. Brown

    Why is everyone picking a side? This isn't exactly a black or white issue,coming down to Conan's fault or Jay's fault, there are a lot of issues at hand:

    In 2004 NBC announced that Conan would succeed Jay at the Tonight Show, which was reportedly done to keep Conan from bailing.

    To keep Jay from bailing and becoming competition for Conan, NBC announces (I think in 2008) that Jay will be getting a show at 10:00PM

    From 2004 -2009, Jay shows strong ratings, consistently beating David Letterman. Conan premieres, and cant keep up with the same ratings, and consistently loses to Letterman. Meanwhile Jay gets very poor ratings at his new spot, competing with hour long dramas like CSI.

    NBC proposes mashing both Jay and Conan together from 11:35 to 1:05. Conan says no way. People pick sides. Late Night Network War II erupts.

    It seems to me that both Jay and Conan are both victims of NBC. NBC made the original agreement, Jay Leno didn't "retire". And they've tried to structure things so that they could retain two charries on top of one sundae. The chances of that working were slim. But then again, how far can you blame NBC? If they would have pulled it off, they would have been called geniuses. But they didn't, so here we are...

    January 17, 2010 at 7:05 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Conan or noone

    Jay Leno should do what he says he will do and that is retire and let Conan keep hosting the tonight show. This had been the plan since back in 2004. I couldn't wait for Conan to take over the show. Seven months is no chance to prove yourself. Shame on Leno for not bowing out gracefully. Conan is a class act. I really feel for his entire crew who relocated across the country less than a year ago. I hope Conan goes to FOX with his crew. I will never watch the tonight show with Leno. I also think that certain executives at NBC should be fired for the horrible decisions they have made.

    January 16, 2010 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Trish

    Before he left The Tonight Show, he was averaging 4.5 million viewers, and put NBC on the top of the latenight game for many, many years. Conan can barely manage 2.5 million. As much praise as he’s getting here, Conan’s ratings downright suck. Leno would be able to resurrect NBC latenight and return them to #1 easily. Additionally, with his primetime exposure, he’d probably be able to pick up some new latenight viewers as well. Leno is by far the better talent and winner for NBC.

    Conclusion: Leno RULES and is the KING of late night while Conan is NOT funny and he sucks!!!

    January 16, 2010 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
  5. Kristin

    Oh get over it. Both of them have millions. Besides, Craig Ferguson is funnier than both of them put together.

    January 15, 2010 at 8:35 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Brian again

    I think Conan is a much more relevant comedian and much more tallented than Leno. I appreciate that Leno took the reigns from Carson and did a good job, but I never warmed to his generic humor.

    However, this is the bottom line: NBC has the right to do whatever it wants with its line-up. Jay IS going to do better in the time slot. Period. As much as I like Conan, I disagree that the move would have destroyed the show. If anything, he's just taking the 2nd half of Jay's previous hour long show and keeping the first part of his old timeslot.

    In any event, NBC got itself into this mess and yes they are to blame. But I would rather see NBC and Jay settle to have him get off the air. Hopefully Conan can work something out so he gets paid by NBC and is able to get back on the air with FOX or even ABC (which seems to have the best quality shows on now). I agree with an earlier post: If 30-rock leaves, there's nothing on NBC to watch.

    January 15, 2010 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
  7. nikki

    I guess no one remembers that Jay's contract for the Tonight show was temporary in the 1st place. I remember when he 1st got the show that his contract would be up in 2009. He should've renegotiated his contract if he wanted to stay on the show. Give peace a chance! ❤

    January 15, 2010 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Raevyn Talyn

    The bottom line is, they're not trying to reverse things because of Conan's ratings....Jay screwed up and HIS ratings were really really bad. This isn't Conan's fault....it's Jay's. So because Jay failed Conan should pay??? Jay needs to shut up and go home.

    January 15, 2010 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
  9. albie

    According to Conan O'Brien himself, NBC originally contracted him to take over the Tonight Show in 2009 (while Jay was still hosting). Jay was given the new show to appease him. Apparently, NBC does a lot of these "behind the back" deals. NBC made a huge mistake and they are now trying to fix it the best way they can, by putting the better host back on.

    Conan O'Brien did not do well in the ratings, period! I don't blame Jay; he is the one who has been dissed, twice. He will do a better job with the show and I will watch him. He is better than Conan any day!

    January 15, 2010 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Joel T.

    Let it go Jay.
    LET IT GO!!!

    You know the whole retired comeback thing might work for certain a
    Viking Quarterback ... But you are NOT him.

    I thought the deal was SUPPOSED to be Conan takes over the Tonight show in 2009 and you were RETIRING...

    January 15, 2010 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
  11. mary

    I find it interesting that everyone is blaming Jay who NEVER wanted to leave the TONIGHT show but was FORCED to because NBC wanted to keep Conan from going to ABC or Fox 5 years ago and didn't want Jay to jump ship either – THEY MADE THE BAD DEAL!!! So let me see if I understand this – NBC experimented with a cheap show at 10:00 because they didn't want to pay for writers etc. it failed because people want to watch that type of TV at that time Slot. Conan didn't capture the entire 18-45 or 54 whatever the age they want at 11:35 because that is Jay's fault because he didn't give a good lead in. ARE YOU KIDDING ME! If you Conan fans were watching then why did he only pull in 2.5 million and Jay was still pulling in the 5.5 million at 10:00. Jay always said the would take back the TONIGHT show and I personally welcome it. CONAN is being a big baby because he says he didn't get a chance to develop the show. Hey folks Be made at NBC hierachy not Leno! As for Conan – hey big guy – your show sucked – now it is funny – so where have you been for 8 months?

    January 15, 2010 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
  12. greg

    When Leno took over the show in the 80's, for 18 months he was getting his butt handed to him in ratings by david letterman. Conan should have atleast gotten a year.

    January 15, 2010 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Liam

    I used to watch the Tonight Show religiously. Johnny was great, and Jay followed nicely and kept the show what it is–a great institution. Now, I NEVER watch the Tonight Show. Conan just isn't good. He's much more of an "I'm up late and have been drinking and I'll watch his stupid show" kind of entertainer. Bring Jay back, and I'll watch again. Jay is fantastic.

    January 15, 2010 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Ex-GE manager

    Conan was not funny prior to the "Tonight Show"; he has not improved any. Jay was funny and relevant, Connan was promissed a job he did not deserve. I have met Mr. Leno, he is a very good person, his contributions to the Elfin society were amazing. The new tonight show reminds me of the new SNL, we long for the days when it used to be funny. I am sure that both Jack Parr and Johnny Carson are both rolling over in their graves at the current level of stupidity the tonight show has reached. I have watched the tonight show twice since Jay Left, not funny, nor entertaining. Bring back the old show or conceed to Letterman.

    January 15, 2010 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Diva


    January 15, 2010 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
  16. Dan

    Conan is way funnier. The only thing thats funny on Leno is "HEadlines" and thats not even him making jokes, hes READING HEADLINES! Like another user said, Conan wrote episodes of the Simpsons, a show which has been on for twenty years. Leno is clinging to the idea that what you say doesn;t mean anything. He agreed to leave, now hes not. What a great guy. I think what should and will happen:

    Jay will stay at NBC and get the Tonight show back
    Conan will move to another network (but with Letterman on CBS and Kimmel on ABC I can't think of where...FOX?)
    and we get back to where we started...almost

    January 15, 2010 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
  17. Larry

    WHO SAID CONAN NEEDS THE MONEY??? Everyone is acting like Conan is eating Ramen Noodles!! This is show business, and stuff like this is going to happen. Remember, they did give Conan an option, and he refused it....now deal with it!

    January 15, 2010 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
  18. Dudley_DoRight

    I agree, Jay should bow out.
    He reminds me of Brett Favre. We want him to go away, but he won't. Actually, other than the people that directly benefit from their existence (Brett=his football team and fans, Jay=his own pockets and NBC) we want the towel thrown in...but they won't go!

    Jay, if you need the money that bad, we will just pass a hat. You failed in prime time, now just GO AWAY!

    January 15, 2010 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
  19. BMJinGA

    Besides the fact that Leno has better ratings than Conan, if he did just bow out as a lot of you suggest, NBC would still have to pay him an enormous amount of money because of his contract. And NBC doesn't want to pay him to stay home and play with all his cars, they want a little value for their money, or he could end up on another station and pull Conan's ratings down even lower. Whether you like him or not, he has a proven track record of high ratings. NBC has made a few bad decisions and took a risk that didn't pay off, now they have a real difficult problem to work out here. Maybe they could alternate hosting, Jay could do it for a week and then Conan for a week. They wouldn't lose either one that way. Glad I don't have to make that call.

    January 15, 2010 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
  20. Franky, Land of Lincoln

    You people in the comments sure are...sorry but I've gotten good than ever before.

    NBC can make this go away and release the guy, is that simple. Is about competition, is about man up, respect, etc. You think Jay is really gonna bow out for the sake of you displaced aggressive people? Umm, no.

    Jay's been in this game a long time, Conan just looks like someone who can play someone from Star Trek, which I find funny and humurous. But Jay ain't gonna bow out to you people who are struggling with our economy and our jobs. Stop blaming corporations for you intentions and desries and for once, stop watching T.V too much, you can die sooner than later.

    Just kick him out NBC and I say kick Conan out too. Then you'll be more "colorful." 🙂

    January 15, 2010 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
  21. Stan

    Sad really he must forget what it was like when he first started OH WAIT he stole it then as well.................... once a bigchined ahole always one

    January 15, 2010 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
  22. Kay

    If anybody watched the movie that was made when Leno did his thing to Dave Letterman than you know this will not be a fair fight, Conan is much better than Leno and he should continue with the Tonight Show.

    January 15, 2010 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
  23. James

    Count me in with the Conan minority. I have started watching him more now. Look at last night's monologue, he was killing it!

    January 15, 2010 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
  24. Dwayne

    Why blame Leno? He had the best rating of ALL LATE NIGHT SHOWS when they took "The Tonight Show" away from him!! The reason they offered him the primetime show as so he didnt take an offer at ABC competing with the Conan version of the show (which he would have beat in ratings)-so you can just blame NBC execs–Leno just wanted to keep his job all along. if anyone is a victim, its Leno–he was fired from the show he held up....

    January 15, 2010 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
  25. quicksilver

    headwriter it looks like you're in the minority here, and every other comment board. Team Conan.

    January 15, 2010 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
  26. Loog

    If Leno has an ounce of integrity he'll do the right thing and bow out of the entire situation.

    January 15, 2010 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
  27. franco

    Count me in with the "Conan Minority" then headwriter ; I agree with Brian's comment. Conan Forever. Jay don't be a big baby and show some class; get another show. You don't need those idiots at NBC.

    January 15, 2010 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
  28. headwriter

    Why should Jay leave if he loves what he does - and he attracts more audience than Conan EVER did? Let's not forget that Leno's Tonight Show beat Letterman all the time and Conan never has. I am SO tired of the vocal Conan minority - and that's what they are, a minority - screaming about how unfair it all is and how Leno should retire gracefully. Tell it to Dick Clark and other celebs who hold on past their expiration date - but not to Leno, who still delivers the goods.

    BTW, Jay's primetime ratings were about the same as his Tonight Show ratings, so he didn't 'fail' - he just didn't meet primetime standards.

    January 15, 2010 at 11:05 am | Report abuse |
  29. Big Crappa

    If Jay Leno wanted to continue being on television, why didn't he just keep the Tonigh Show in the first place?
    Brian's comment is spot on, Jay doesn't need money.
    When they told Henry Winkler that they were going to change "Happy Days" to "Fonzie's Happy Days" he straight up said "No way!". He did not want to stripmine the show that put him on the map. The Tonight Show has always been at 11:30 but Jay was moe than happy to bump it to midnight for his own purposes. He could have said "No". Or he could have said "I want the Tonight Show back". Either reply would have been more honorable than "The Jay Leno Show at 11:35".
    Why does Jay have Stuttering John as an announcer? Because he was popular from Howard Stern? Jay hasn't had an original idea in years. He thought he could be Merv Griffin and have a a prime time talk show. But he is no Merv, he's no Johnny, he's no Jack Paar, and now he is beneath Conan. He had a good run and now he should step down.
    Remember when Johnny had his last week and Arsenio Hall specifically did not air any shows that week out of respec to Johnny?
    Jay should look at Arsenio and Henry Winkler's examples of class exceeding financial gain, especially when you are already filthy rich!!!

    January 15, 2010 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
  30. Carolyn

    Ditto to Brian's comment!

    January 15, 2010 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
  31. Debra R

    Jay, the more you talk the less respect I have for you. Even if you get the show I won't watch it. be a man and bow out.

    January 15, 2010 at 10:40 am | Report abuse |
  32. Brian

    Jay, you don't need the money. You don't need the fame. You don't need to be on late night TV anymore. You made your mark. Conan took on the tonight show, not the Tomorrow Show. You can blame NBC for the move, but of course the move makes sense for ratings, but Leno can make this whole thing go away with a graceful and respectable bow-out.

    January 15, 2010 at 9:46 am | Report abuse |

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