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What Did Leno Know and When Did He Know It?

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Jay Leno’s late night triumph seems to hinge on his misunderstanding of the Guild rules, wilful or not. NBC says he got permission from Patric Verrone, which is backed up in the NY Times by that scourge of journalists–the unidentified source:

One of Mr. Leno’s writers who attended the meeting with Mr. Verrone supported Mr. Leno’s version that he had been given some assurance that he could write his monologue.

“Jay said, “Let me get this clear: I’m allowed to write my monologue,” said the writer, who asked not to be identified because he was a strike supporter and did not want publicly to challenge the guild’s version of events. “Verrone said, ‘Well, since you are taking one for the team, we won’t hassle you about that.’”

The writer added, “There was no way Jay could have misinterpreted what was being said.”

So, who do we believe? Some unknown guy, Patric Verrone or the millions who tuned in, hoping Jay would say something funny? Nikki Finke quotes the same un-named source, and her readers have their own views.

The pitch is : “It’s Rashomon meets The Player at the intersection of Scarface and Glitter.”

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