Jay Leno Sounds Off on Conan O’Brien’s TBS Show Ending, Late Night Feud for ‘Tonight Show’

by Taylor Cunningham

With Jay Leno’s time on Last Man Standing over, he’s decided to pick another job. Leno is rebooting You Bet Your Life on Fox. The original series was hosted by the legendary comedian Groucho Marks and ran from 1950-1961. In an exclusive interview with Deadline, the former Tonight Show host sat down to talk about his new gig. And while he was at it, he put an end to his decade-long feud with Conan O’Brien.

The battle over late-night television started back in 2009. Jay Leno was asked to step down from his longtime run on the Tonight Show, and Conan O’Brien would take his place. And that’s how it worked— out at first. But after only a short time on the stage, NBC gave the show back to Leno. Conan was then left without a network. He ended up moving to TBS, and he retired Conan this year after 11 seasons. 

When Deadline asked Jay about Conan, he said, “He’s very good. People get mad at me because somehow I …. It’s a network decision.” insinuating that the choice to leave O’Brien jobless was not his. Leno went on to say that NBC fired him (Leno) after his ratings dropped and then asked him to come back. He just went with the flow.

“They [NBC] take the show away, and then they go, ‘Will you come back?’ And you go, ‘Really? Is that what you want? Fine.’ I certainly hold no ill will. It’s a business.”

Jay Leno Reboots ‘You Bet Your Life’

Jay Leno’s reboot of You Bet Your Life hit the airwaves on Monday (September 13th). The original 1950s classic was hosted by the world-famous Groucho Marx. And the Jay’s Garage host said he plans on keeping the quiz show G-rated and politics-free just like the original.

Leno wants to take a modern approach to You Bet Your Life, but he also wants to keep the spirit of Groucho in the dialogue.

“This is a comedy show with a kind of tenuous connection to a game,” Leno said in an interview with Variety.

The contestants on his show will be average people with quirky personalities and unusual traits. The players will compete for a cash prize. But unlike most gameshow, they don’t have a chance of walking away millionaires. The most one person can win is $5,500.

“They all have a desk and a stage and a band. They all kind of do that,” he explained. “This is almost exactly like the old Groucho show,” Jay Leno added. “That show was about Groucho talking to people. There wasn’t any buffer in between. And people seemed to like that.”