Jay Leno has removed the air about claims that he deliberately sabotaged Conan OBrien in order to win back hisTonight Showspot. In an interview on Bill Mahers' podcast Club Random, Leno talked about the controversy surrounding his program, even admitting he apologized to Jimmy Kimmel for failing to keep him informed about his potential ABC move if it had happened.
In 2009, OBrien took over The Tonight Show from Leno, a move that NBC had announced five years earlier. However, both programs failed to perform well when the network decided to give the veteran host his own program, The Jay Leno Show, leading up to The Tonight Show. Many people assumed that OBrien had deliberately sabotaged his successor.
Despite the rumors, Leno clarified them, saying, No it doesn't work that way. You try and do everything you can to make it work.
Other networks such as ABC and Fox attempted to lure Leno in at the time he was to be replaced by OBrien, but he resisted.
Sometimes the czar you have is better than the one you're going to get, according to a former employee. Then you have your old team shooting at you as well. I thought: Lets just see what happens.
If Leno had moved to ABC, the Jimmy Kimmel Live! time slot would have been pushed back, and when the announcement that ABC was following him became public, it sparked disagreement between the two hosts, despite them previously stating that they would continue to work at NBC.
I thought he would figure it out. However, I think maybe he was hurt by that, and I apologized to him for that.