NBC Photo: Paul Drinkwater
A company man to the end, Leno praised his redheaded replacement as a "smart, great guy" and "a lot of fun."
"I like the guy, we're friends," Leno said of O'Brien. "Unlike the Miss California USA pageant, this is a peaceful transition of power."
Leno says he has some surprises in store as he ends his 17 years as late-night's No. 1 star. "I have something really unusual and different planned...Something really out of left field that we're gonna end on. It's something really personal and unusual."