Conan O'Brien: I Never Would've Done What Jay Leno Did to Me

Entertainment Apr. 29, 2010 AT 5:17PM
Conan O'Brien: I Never Would've Done What Jay Leno Did to Me Credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images; Michael Kovac/FilmMagic

In his first interview since being forced off The Tonight Show, Conan O'Brien slams Jay Leno for returning as host of the late night NBC show.

"He went and took that show back, and I think in a similar situation, if roles had been reversed, I know -- I know me, I wouldn't have done that," O’Brien, 47, says on Sunday's 60 Minutes. "If I had surrendered The Tonight Show and handed it over to somebody publicly and wished them well -- and then ... six months later. But that's me, you know. Everyone's got their own, you know, way of doing things."

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Asked what he would have done, O’Brien says, "Done something else, go someplace else. I mean, that's just me." O'Brien -- who premieres a new show on TBS in November -- stands by his decision to leave the network.

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During the ordeal, he said he remembers thinking: "I think this relationship is going be toxic and maybe we just need to go our separate ways. That's really how it felt to me ... and I started to feel that I'm not sure these people even really want me here ... I can't do it [anymore]."

O'Brien is currently on a 30-city North American comedy tour, The Legally Prohibited From Being Funny On Television Tour.

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Interestingly, NBC's The Tonight Show ratings have improved since Leno returned.

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