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The five questions I wish Oprah Winfrey would have asked Jay Leno



20100128-tows-jay-leno-3-300x205 I've been watching the negative comments pile up on Twitter all day regarding Oprah Winfrey's highly touted interview with returning Tonight Show host Jay Leno, and it's obvious lots of folks in the industry ain't buying it.

Even my wife, whose biggest connection to the TV industry has been suffering through 13 years of me covering it, called my office to complain about the questions Oprah wasn't asking.

To her credit, she did ask him a few interesting things, including how he felt when Jimmy Kimmel took him apart on his own show ("I felt sucker punched").

And whether he was selfish to take back the Tonight Show when Conan O'Brien refused to move it to 12:05 p.m. Watch her debate the issue with her audience for 30 minutes after the show by clicking here.

Now that I've seen the interview, where Leno says NBC initially forced him to leave the Tonight Show and then asked him to come back when the 10 p.m. show didn't work, I've got a few questions the Queen of All Media should have asked:

20100128-tows-jay-leno-2-300x205 1) You don't really expect me to believe you thought Conan would accept moving back to 12:05? Would YOU have accepted that deal if you were him?

2) You say Conan was replaced because he didn't get ratings. Don't you think your show's low ratings at 10 p.m. helped decimate Conan's ratings at 11:35 p.m.?

3) You got two years to build up viewership enough to beat David Letterman. Shouldn't NBC have let you go and given Conan time to succeed?

4) You say it would have been selfish to retire and leave your staff jobless. But didn't you put Conan's staff out of work?

5) I think the public is upset because you're not taking any responsibility for how this turned out. Shouldn't you take some blame for how this turned out?

I know most folks are tire of hearing about this. But as Leno tries to rehabilitate his image with interviews like this, I think the tougher questions will pop up more and more.

Jimmy Kimmel throws cold water on the whole deal by saying what actually happened before the "sucker punch." When is the last time late night TV was this entertaining?

< And here's Kimmel's edited version of the Leno interivew, set to REM's "Everybody Hurts"

[Last modified: Wednesday, July 21, 2010 3:05pm]


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