Leno says he'd return to 'Tonight' if NBC asked

NEW YORK (AP) -- Jay Leno's plugging away in prime time, but he still says he would have rather stayed put at "The Tonight Show" -- and if NBC offered him that late-night job again, he says he'd take it.

In an interview with Broadcasting & Cable magazine, Leno hastily adds that such a decision isn't his to make. Conan O'Brien, his successor as "Tonight" host after 17 years, is "doing fine," says Leno.

"The Jay Leno Show" began on NBC in September, airing Monday through Friday at 10 p.m. Eastern, where it has displaced prime-time scripted dramas. For that, and for his less-than-stellar ratings thus far, Leno has taken heat within the TV industry as well as from critics.

But getting beat up is just part of the game, says Leno, who insists he enjoys his role "being the underdog."


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AP Television Writer

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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