Jay Leno defended himself on Monday night during his opening monologue claiming NBC's decision to move him back to 11:35pm was just "business."
"Through all of this, Conan O'Brien has been a gentleman," Leno said during the taping. "He’s a good guy. I have no animosity towards him. This is all business," Leno said. "You know, folks, if you don't get the ratings, they take you off the air."
Leno says when NBC told him they wanted to end his new show, he asked to be released from his contract. "'No, you're still a valuable asset to this company,'" he said the network told him. His reply: "How valuable can I be? You fired me twice."
That was a reference to talks back in 2004 when NBC first told Leno to make room for Conan. He said he told the network moving him to prime time was a "bad idea," but NBC didn't think so.
"I said, 'Well, I've been No. 1 for 12 years.' They said, 'We know that. We don't think you can sustain it,'" Leno recalls the executive telling him, reports USA Today.
"So that’s pretty much where we are. It looks like we might be back at 11:30," he said. "I’m not sure. I don’t know."
NBC is expected to make an official announcement about Conan's exit and Jay's return as soon as Tuesday. According to reports Conan won't be allowed to bad mouth the network once a deal is reached, but that didn't stop Leno from taking one last jab at the network.
"CBS is now developing a new sitcom about the troubles here at NBC," he said. "It's called 'Two Men and a Half-Assed Network'."
Will you continue to watch The Tonight Show once Jay takes the show back? Or are you on Team Conan? Do you feel differently about Jay? Tell us your thoughts!