Conan O'Brien is an upstanding guy, and not just because he's 6-foot-4.
Speaking earnestly to 60 MInutes in an interview scheduled to air Sunday, the incoming TBS late-night host admits to being more or less stabbed in the back by his old network—and by Jay Leno.
"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," said O'Brien, flashing his serious side for a change. "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."
If he had been in Leno's position, what would he have done then?
"Done something else, go someplace else," O'Brien said simply. "I mean, that's just me."
And even though NBC originally (well, originally they asked him to host The Tonight Show, but after that) requested that he move to 12:05 a.m., he didn't feel that the network was in the business of protecting his best interests anymore.
"I think this relationship is going be toxic and maybe we just need to go our separate ways," he recalled thinking. "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."
(Originally published April 29, 2010, at 3:58 p.m. PT)