Rosie to Leno and Zucker: Shame on You

PASADENA, Calif.—Rosie O’Donnell put herself squarely in the Team Conan camp Thursday, ripping Jay Leno for—as she sees it–forcing his way back into NBC’s Tonight Show timeslot.
“I think he’s forgotten his roots, who he is and what stand-up comedy is about,” she told critics following this afternoon’s HBO press tour session.
Earlier, O’Donnell lashed out at Leno, suggesting the car buff “flattened” Conan O’Brien’s tires before handing over the keys to The Tonight Show.
“Graciousness has never been his No. 1 quality,” she said of Leno, urging the 59-year-old comedian to “let go and grab whatever the next rung is.”
O’Donnell praised O’Brien as “a fantastic talent. Seventeen years he gave to that network. They really did a disservice to him and shame on Jeff Zucker and really shame on Jay Leno.”
NBC Universal chairman Zucker is rumoured to be pulling strings behind the scenes in closing a deal that will see Leno re-take NBC’s 11:35 timeslot once the Winter Olympic Games are finished. Zucker was the chief NBC programmer when a deal was struck in 2004 to have O’Brien replaces Leno five years later as host of The Tonight Show.
So what happened to that plan, O’Donnell wanted to know. “Five years ago, he was told he was no longer going to be the host.” Even fabled New York Jets quarterback Joe Namath,” she pointed out, was eventually told “you’re not going to be the quarterback any more.”
Asked if she would want to follow O’Brien on Fox if the late night talk show host winds up there, the always outspoken O’Donnell said, “That’s like asking would I like to vacation in Haiti,” she said. “Now wouldn’t be the time.”
On a lighter note, O’Donnell was asked if she’d like to appear on the breakout Fox series Glee. She had a recurring role on executive producer Ryan Murphy’s previous series, Nip/Tuck.
“In a heartbeat,” says O’Donnell, who even has a scenario all planned out. “I would like to have a competitive cheerleader team against Jane Lynch (Glee villain Sue Sylvester). “And maybe she and I fall in love and have a torrid affair…I don’t know.”
O’Donnell was at press tour to promote A Family is a Family: A Rosie O’Donnell Celebration, set to premiere Jan. 31 on HBO.

3 Responses to “Rosie to Leno and Zucker: Shame on You”

  1. I guess the one good thing coming out of this is that everyone is now seeing how disliked, especially among comedians, Jay Leno really is. Jay likes to put on this facade that he is really nice and everyone’s friend but they all know what a backstabbing weasel he is behind the camera. And Jay likes to act like he’s in on their jokes and it’s just good-natured ribbing but as Kimmel showed last night, he’s really not. Jay, they are all making fun OF YOU, not WITH YOU.

    As for NBC, after the Ebersol comments, the entire network can go to hell as far as I’m concerned. Honestly, I like 30 Rock, Chuck and Friday Night Lights a little less this morning knowing that the shows are controlled by such slimeballs.

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  2. cahey bill what rosie and most people fail to realize is that what is happening is all of conan’s doing. five years ago craig killborn was on cbs after letterman, his contact was not renewed and conan and his people told nbc if he didn’t get the tonight show he would jump ship to cbs and go on after dave.conan pushed jay out and now jay is pushing conan out. dont get me wrong i love conan’s style of comedy but he made a power move that didn’t work out and people need to understand this and just move on

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