Rosie O'Donnell is definitely not on Team Leno -- and she has elaborate comparisons to explain why.
At Tuesday's Manhattan screening of A Family is a Family is a Family: A Rosie O'Donnell Celebration, O'Donnell tore into Jay Leno, whose low-rated prime time show is poised to take over Conan O'Brien's 11:35 a.m. time slot (thus leading to O'Brien's departure).
"It was a really crappy move on Leno's part," O'Donnell told UsMagazine.com. "It was kind of career defining."
O'Donnell, once a talk-show host herself, continued, "he tried to 'Nancy Kerrigan.' He tried to take a bat," she said, referring to infamous 1994 incident in which Olympic skater Nancy Kerrigan was bashed in the knees with a lead pipe in an attack orchestrated by her rival Tonya Harding and Harding's husband, Jeff Gillooly. "At least Jeff Gillooly took a pipe and [admitted] he did it."
"He didn't do it and go (imitating Jay Leno's voice) 'I don't know who hit her.' Gee, it was you, you're the one who hit her right in the knee, you know?"
O'Donnell contends that Leno should claim responsibility for pushing O'Brien from his new Tonight Show post. "I think in the old days of show biz you can claim ignorance," she says. "But today with the internet, no way. There"s no way people are going to buy the crap anymore."
"Conan moved his family across the country and his entire staff to get a shot at what he worked 17 years for only to get it taken away by the bully on the playground who doesn't want to let go."
Added the comic: "I'm glad that I'm not on late night. They throw everyone to the wolves, including their own."