Jay Leno joked Monday that NBC executives are "snakes" after a weekend report that he and NBC entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt clashed over jokes about the network's ratings.
Several "Tonight Show" jokes about NBC's poor numbers prompted an email complaint from Greenblatt, the New York Times reported late Friday. The email led to a pointed exchange between Greenblatt and Leno, who argued that there is a long tradition of late-night hosts joking about their networks, the Times said.
Leno and NBC have declined to comment on the report, but Leno did mock the network again in Monday's monologue, which followed St. Patrick's Day.
"Well you know the whole legend of St. Patrick, right? St. Patrick drove all the snakes out of Ireland, and then they came here to the United States and became NBC executives," he joked. "It's a fascinating, fascinating story."
The conflict comes after a Hollywood Reporter story saying NBC is discussing an exit plan for Leno and hopes to move Jimmy Fallon into the "Tonight Show" slot. NBC has denied the report.
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