Conan O’Brien refutes NBC’s contention that The Tonight Show he briefly hosted was losing money and also tells Steve Kroft the six months he had the show were not long enough to declare it a failure with viewers. O’Brien appears in his first interview since being forced from his Tonight Show role in a 60 MINUTES segment to be broadcast Sunday, May 2 (7:00-8:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network
Reminded by Kroft that NBC Universal Chairman Jeff Zucker said that after six months, ratings indicated viewers did not want him on the show, O’Brien says, “In my opinion, I don’t think that’s fair or accurate. But he’s entitled to his opinion. I think for anyone to say that the results were in after six months– that doesn’t ring true to me,” he tells Kroft. Also reminded that NBC said The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien was losing money, Conan refutes it. “I honestly don’t see how that’s possible. It’s really not possible. It isn’t possible.”
Following are excerpts from O’Brien’s 60 MINUTES interview:
I don’t regret anything. I don’t regret one decision I made in that week and a half period,” says the late night television comedian. “I wish it had ended differently. But, I’m fine. I do believe, and this might be my Catholic upbringing or Irish magical thinking, but I think things happen for a reason. I really do. And I think that this all happened for a reason,” he tells Kroft.
Was He Screwed?
The biggest thing people come up and say to me in gas stations and restaurants, I have so many people say this to me. “Hey partner, you got screwed.” I don’t– and I always tell them, “No, I didn’t. I didn’t get screwed. I’m– I’m fine. It just– it didn’t work out.” But I don’t want people thinking, you know, that I got screwed. Because it just didn’t work out.
Resolved His Issues?
No, I have not resolved all my issues. I am mostly very happy. I love this tour, it’s the most thrilling thing I’ve done in my career. And so I’m in a really great place in a lot of ways. But I’d be lying if I said I don’t– have my moments of everything, you know, anger, disappointment– frustration and just confusion.