At HBO studios on Tuesday, at a special GLAAD-hosted screening of her documentary, A Family Is a Family Is a Family: A Rosie O’Donnell Celebration, Vulture asked if Rosie ever regrets giving up her daytime talk show. She told us that she does not. Then, with no prompting, she launched into a rant about the ongoing shenanigans at NBC: “I’m glad I’m not in late night, because it seems like they throw everybody to the wolves, including their own. It was really a crappy move on Leno’s part … Classless and kind of career-defining, if you ask me,” she said, although we had not asked.
She’d already made clear last week at TCA that she was on Team Conan, but evidently she had more to say: “[Leno] knew for five years that it was time to make another plan, and instead he tried a Nancy Kerrigan, right? He tried to take a bat; at least Gillooly, you know, took a pipe and did it; didn’t do it and go, ‘Uh, I don’t know who hit her.’ It was you, you’re the one who hit him, right in the knee. And, ‘He didn’t have the ratings’ — possibly, Jay, because you were his lead-in. Possibly. I don’t know. I think in the old days of showbiz you could feign ignorance, but today with the Internet, no way. There’s no way people are going to buy the crap anymore.”
She continued: “I heard him going, ‘I had five months, I wanted them to let me out of my contract.’ For five months, Jay? If you got another job in the five months, all that would happen is that NBC would stop paying you, and the new company would start paying you. It wasn’t the big tragedy that he made it. And his staff had five years to get another job. Meanwhile, Conan moved his family across the country, and his entire staff, to get a shot at what he worked seventeen years for, only to have it taken away by the bully on the playground who doesn’t want to let go and be 60.”
Then Rosie finally stopped talking, her publicist took her by the arm, and the two walked into the screening room to introduce the film.