Whether they deserve it or not, Jay Leno and NBC's chief executive Jeff Zucker have taken the most flack for Conan O'Brien's expected ouster
at NBC and the Tonight Show. But last night, the two Peacock
heavyweights staged separate charm offensives saying they were not to
blame for the network fiasco.
For his part, Leno blamed the shakeup on NBC's decision to move him to prime-time and Conan's failure to bring in ratings. He called O'Brien a "nice family guy" he still respects:
Through all of this - through all of this, Conan O'Brien has been a gentleman. He's a good guy. I have no animosity towards him. This is all business. If you don't get the ratings, they take you off the air.
As for Zucker, he appeared on Charlie Rose saying that good leadership requires taking risks and fixing mistakes. He stood behind his decision to promise O'Brien the Tonight Show five years in advance because it prevented him from leaving the network. He also said he's been receiving death threats for his actions: