BEVERLY HILLS - Jay Leno is back -- not that he actually ever went anywhere. A compulsively itinerant stand up during the "Tonight" nights, and ever since, Jay was like someone who -- absent the benefit of a national TV platform -- almost seemed to have decided to take his act door-to-door instead. That's logical -- he's one of the legendary standup comedians. (What else are legends supposed to do?)
This fall, he will host "Jay Leno's Garage" on CNBC -- a televised paeon to the true love of his life, those things on four wheels. (Or as he described it when first announced last October: "This show will be about anything that rolls, explodes and makes noise. ")
Jay Leno's "Garage" has already streamed on YouTube, but the CNBC version will launch Oct. 7.
But enough about cars. During his session Thursday morning, someone asked him about his thoughts concerning a continued association with NBC -- which did, after all, replace him not once but twice on "Tonight."
"The fact that maybe you had a couple of arguments with a couple of executives" doesn't matter, he said.
"The lighting people, the people who work on the sets, all the same people I've worked with the last 40 years [are still here]. I like being part of this family, like a continuous history. I still have my first car, still on my first wife.
"I like progress. Exchange I don't like."
Dolly Parton -- reasonable and knowledgeable people will attest -- is one of the great country music stars and a songwriter of considerable talent and accomplishment. By the way (did I forget to mention?) she was at NBC's portion of the press tour Thursday afternoon.
A biopic of Parton's early life story growing up in Tennessee -- -"A Coat of Many Colors," the title borrowed from the title of her 1971 classic -- will air on NBC later this year (maybe next; exact airdate not revealed).
Parton as a child will be played by Alyvia Alyn Lind.
Here's what Parton had to say about her forthcoming biopic (which she will not star in, but which she is an executive producer of):
"Well, I'm older than show business, so I've been blessed and been proud to be around so long to get to do so many things. And to get to do something like this that is so personal and special to me and to get the chance to work with all these great and wonderful people. And, of course, Sam Haskell [also here] and I have known each other since he was my agent many, many years ago. We're Southern folks, so it just seemed to be a precious thing when we got together. And all these pieces and all these people have just seemed to fall into a wonderful place, and we always kind of ... I always ask God to lead us and direct us in anything that we do. And we really feel very blessed with this project.-"
What did Neil Patrick Harris really (really) think about hosting the Oscars? NPH -- who will star in the live NBC variety show, "Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris," (starting Sept. 15, Tuesdays at 10) had an interesting, and I suspect, even candid answer to that question during his scrum with the press this afternoon:
"I loved doing it [and] it's a lot of effort that goes into something that at the end of the day becomes inconsequential, because everyone watches it and, as soon as it's done, they're off to the next thing.
"They don't sit there and talk about it too much. You're hard-pressed after an award show to remember the nominees, because it just kind of goes away and there's a new thing to think about or a new show to happen. So that's the interesting dynamic and the duality of hosting those, is that you spend an asinine amount of time overthinking every little thing and then as soon as it's done, it just kind of vanishes."
For the record, he added: "But I'd love to do it again."