Rosie O’Donnell says “Shame on Jay Leno”

When Rosie O’Donnell takes the stage, you can bet that news will be made. And Thursday at the Television Critic’s Association in Pasadena, Calif. was no exception.

While on hand promoting her new HBO documentary “A Family Is A Family Is A Family: A Rosie O’Donnell Celebration,” a reporter asked if Rosie would consider doing late night. Her response? “That’s like asking would I like to vacation in Haiti,” suggesting that while late night’s a great opportunity, given the fallout with Jay Leno and Conan O’Brien at NBC, it’s just as bad as visiting a normally-beautiful-but-now-earthquake-ridden nation. She likened being the host of the Tonight Show to being a bus driver, saying that eventually, someone new has to drive the bus. She then took a stab at Leno. “Pass the keys to the new guy with the red hair and try not to flatten his tires before he even gets going.”

After the session, O’Donnell made her stance even clearer, telling that “[Conan] is a fantastic talent…17 years he gave to [NBC] and they really did a disservice to him – I think shame on them. I think shame on Jeff Zucker and really shame on Jay Leno. I think he’s forgotten his roots and who he is and what stand-up comedy is about. Graciousness has never been his number one quality. I think it would serve him well to think about what might happen if he were able to let go and grab onto whatever the next rung is. He should walk away. Five years ago he was told that he was no longer going to be the host. Joe Namath at one point was told, ‘You’re not going to be the quarterback anymore.'”

As we reported earlier this week, NBC will no longer air the Jay Leno show in primetime beginning February 12, and have proposed a new late-night line up that would have Leno at 11:35pm, the Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien at 12:05am, and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon at 1:05am. However O’Brien has made it clear that he will not do the Tonight Show if it moves to 12:05, and that his future is now unclear. TMZ reported Thursday that a deal between NBC and Leno has been negotiated that would give Leno the Tonight Show, but a representative for NBC told that is not true.

Additional reporting done by Greg Hernandez


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