Does Anybody Believe Jay Leno Is Just Fine With Leaving the Tonight Show?

Via: Tuned In

CBS has released excerpts of a 60 Minutes interview with Jay Leno airing Sunday. In this clip, he says some nice things about Jimmy Fallon, the young man who will replace him on The Tonight Show next month. He likens Fallon to Johnny Carson and says that NBC has “an extremely qualified young guy ready to jump in… So you go with the new guy. Makes perfect sense to me.” But: Fallon is replacing Jay in the same fashion and for the same reasons as did extremely qualified young guy Conan O’Brien, a transition that you may recall did not play out so smoothly. He is replacing him, when—just like in 2009—Jay is still leading his time slot. And as Jay also says to 60 Minutes, if he had his druthers, he would have stayed at The Tonight Show. There are two ways, then, to read this: Jay is really OK with retiring this time. Or: Jay is biding his time. Call me crazy, but I’m going with #2. I am not a mind-reader, but I think here as always you can understand Jay’s comments by understanding a few simple principles: Jay is a pro. Jay is canny. Jay is all business. And Jay loves to work. So: Jay Leno says he understands NBC’s decision. I’m sure he does! He didn’t just fall off the 1920s vintage turnip truck. He knows this business. But here are a few things “I understand” does not mean: 1) “I like it.” 2) “I agree with it.” 3) “I will do nothing to undermine this enterprise in the future, should it prove to be in my interests.” 4) “If you’ll excuse me now, I’m going off to the garage, where I shall tinker with my cars for the rest of my life.” I interviewed Jay around the Tonight transition in 2009, and he explained his philosophy about speaking diplomatically: “There’s the close-the-goddam-window school of thought,and there’s the is-it-cold-in-here-or-is-it-me? school of thought. I come from the is-it-cold-in-here? school.” It’s not 2009 anymore. This time, it’s

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