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Jay Leno explains late night NBC shakeup

A celebrity gossip junky, Caroline Goddard has been writing entertainment news for longer than the world has known Kim Kardashian's name. Follow her on Twitter at @GoddardCaroline.

Leno lauds O'Brien

Jay Leno seriously addressed the NBC late night shakeup for the first time on his show.

While Leno and Conan O'Brien have exchanged increasingly sharp barbs over the situation in the past week, Jay -- being heavily portrayed as the bad guy -- finally explained things from his viewpoint.

Leno lauds O'Brien

Leno told viewers his conversation with NBC made clear he would only agree to return to The Tonight Show after Conan rejected a plan to move his show back a half hour. Leno even says he asked to be removed from his contract rather than deal with the mess after his prime time show failed, but NBC refused.

"'No, you're still a valuable asset to this company,'" he said the network told him. Leno replied, "How valuable can I be? You fired me twice."

Jay also gave Conan a nod for behaving himself. "Through all of this, Conan O'Brien has been a gentleman. He's a good guy, I have no animosity toward him. This is all business," Leno said. "You know, folks, if you don't get the ratings, they take you off the air."

Both Jay and Conan's shows were ratings failures. The problem for Conan's fans is that while Conan is being punished for his failure, Leno is being rewarded for his own.

Of course, he couldn't resist getting in one last laugh: "CBS is now developing a new sitcom about the troubles here at NBC. It's called `Two Men and a Half-Assed Network.'"

Jay Leno's video shout out!

Jay explains his side of the story

Read on for more Jay Leno

Jay Leno heading back to late night?
Jay Leno gets the last laugh
NBC cancels The Jay Leno Show

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