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Leno on Conan: ‘I knew he’d land on his feet’

The “Tonight Show” host said he expects to have fun competing with O’Brien’s new TBS show and calls him a “funny guy.”
/ Source: Access Hollywood

Eyebrows were raised when Jay Leno and David Letterman both failed to mention Conan O’Brien’s new late night TV deal with cable station TBS on their own evening shows last week, but at least one of the men is speaking out now.

Leno, whose own Kevin Eubanks announced his departure from “The Tonight Show” the day O’Brien announced his own news, told Access Hollywood over the weekend at the TV Land Awards that he wasn’t surprised by his former co-worker’s move.

“I knew he’d land on his feet,” Leno told Access.

“It’ll be fun. Everybody will compete,” Leno said, referring to the fact that O’Brien’s new show, which premieres later this fall, will start at 11 p.m., while “The Tonight Show” and “The Late Show With David Letterman” both kick off at 11:35 p.m. “11 o’clock is now the most exciting place to be.”

Leno is also expecting O’Brien to amuse fans.

“I think he’ll be great,” Leno said. “He’s a very funny guy.”

When asked what he thought of O’Brien’s move from network to cable television (O’Brien was originally rumored to go to FOX), Leno said it wasn’t a big deal.

“I didn’t know what to think,” he said. “I mean, well, FOX is network but they have cable too, so, you know, it’s all sort of the same now. Everybody sort of reaches the same thing, but I think it’s exciting. I think he’ll do well.”

In related O’Brien news, on Sunday, the New York Post claimed that George Lopez, whose show will be time shifted to midnight to make room for O’Brien’s new program, isn’t as supportive of his new late night counterpart as he’s stated.

The paper claimed TBS bosses told Lopez that his show would be canceled if he didn’t support O’Brien.

“George was initially opposed to the idea of moving his time slot to make room for Conan on TBS,” a source told the paper.

A rep for TBS, however, denied the claims to the paper.

“These claims are completely untrue. TBS has been unequivocal in its support for George Lopez,” the rep told the paper. “Conan O’Brien and his team also fully support George’s show.”

Lopez’s rep also denied the report.

“This information is false and fabricated,” his rep told the paper.