O'Brien insists he was never in line for the job; neither did he want it
The successor to David Letterman was always going to be a huge deal, as Louis C.K expertly conveyed in his three-part special towards the end of ‘Louie’s’ third season. But in actuality, the announcements ran fairly smoothly. Letterman’s out, Stephen Colbert’s in.
Stephen Colbert has the daunting task of replacing David Letterman
There have been plenty of Conan admirers in the last few days, all gracefully complimenting the comedian/host while either subtly implying or outright confirming that they didn’t want, or weren’t in line for the job themselves. And one of these people is Conan O’Brien, according to Fox News.
On Friday, 11 April, O’Brien was talking backstage while rehearsing for Sunday's MTV Movie Awards.which he's hosting for the first time. "I wasn't up for it," he announced. “I'm very happy where I am, but I love Stephen. I think Stephen is great. I'm a huge fan of his as a comic and as a human being. I think it's fantastic. I'm really glad that he got the job. I look forward to seeing his show."
O’Brien himself has been entangled in the late night chat show game for a number of years now, starting his career – as many have – on SNL, before replacing Letterman on on Late Night between 1993 and 2010. He then replaces Jay Leno on The Tonight Show before departing 7 months later, with Leno resuming responsibilities.
"I was very happy because I have such respect for Dave," O'Brien said. "I'm glad that it's the right person getting it. Whenever I would hear there was speculation (that I'd take over the 'Late Show'), I was like, 'No. What?' I'm happy," said O'Brien. "I get to do what I want."