"I haven't talked to him through all this," he tells Oprah Winfrey in an interview airing Thursday. "No, I haven't." Leno says he wanted to phone O'Brien, 46, "but it didn't seem appropriate … I don't know. I think it — let things cool down and maybe we'll talk, you know."
Leading up to O'Brien's finale, the two traded a series of barbs. ("You can do anything you want in life. Unless Jay Leno wants to do it too," O'Brien joked on his Jan. 13 show.)
Leno tells Winfrey he didn't take any of the jokes seriously.
"They were jokes. And that's okay," he says, adding, "It's what we do, you know? You can't — it's like being a fighter and say when you got punched in the head, did it hurt? Well, yeah. But you're a fighter. That's what you do."
Kidding aside, Leno calls the entire situation "a mess."
O'Brien's last night Jan. 22 drew a preliminary rating of 7.0, which translates to about 8 million households.
O'Brien reportedly inked a $45 million deal with NBC which prohibits him from starting another TV job until Sept. 1.
Leno's primetime bomb The Jay Leno Show will end Feb. 9 — two days earlier than expected. He will resume his late-night post starting March 1.
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