(Image credit: Fox)
The late night talk show wars that blew up in the ‘90s are almost entirely absent these days, even if the actual ratings game remains a legitimate struggle for producers and network execs. For proof, just look at Jimmy Kimmel taking over The Tonight Show as Jimmy Fallon hit the Jimmy Kimmel Live! stage as April Fool’s pranks earlier this year. But someone who’s all too familiar with all sides of the talk show Rubik’s Cube is former NBC stalwart Jay Leno, whose so-called rivalries with David Letterman and Conan O’Brien are the stuff of TV legend. Some fans may not remember that Leno even semi-burned bridges with Kimmel during that controversial period surrounding O’Brien’s mishandled Tonight Show takeover, but it’s something that Leno is now apologizing for.
Jimmy Kimmel and Bill Maher discussed Jay Leno and that tumultuous time at NBC during a June episode of Maher’s podcast Club Random, with Kimmel reflecting on it by saying he definitely was not Team Jay, and admitted that he had a feud going at the time, though not anymore. For the latest installment of his podcast, Maher welcomed Leno himself to do a little boozing and schmoozing, and Leno provided some context and clarification for how his own in-network issues spread over to Kimmel and ABC, and actually admitted to unwittingly being in the wrong in that situation. (Though he still doesn’t take responsibility for the fallout with O’Brien.) Here’s how he worded things at the onset before really digging into his memories of how things went down: