Julianna Margulies On Hollywood’s Reaction To NBC’s Late Night Shake Up: ‘People Are Upset’

When Julianna Margulies picked up her Golden Globe for Best Actress in a television series on Sunday night, she took a shot at NBC by thanking the CBS executives “for believing in the 10 o’clock drama.”

And backstage after the show, “The Good Wife” star, who made her name on NBC’s “ER,” hinted there is a dialogue going on among some actors about Jay Leno’s move back to late night from primetime, and the possibility NBC will axe Conan O’Brien from “The Tonight Show” chair.

“Are these discussions happening amongst actors and your friends?” Access Hollywood’s Billy Bush asked Julianna, who confirmed she’s Team CoCo. “Are you guys talking about it?”

“Yes, people are upset,” Julianna said. “You don’t want to see anyone treated that way. And I think it was a big debacle and I think [NBC is] suffering for it. And [the] silver lining is that, you know, the network drama will hopefully come back to NBC where I started.”

Julianna got her big break on the network, starring as Nurse Carol Hathaway on “ER” from 1994 - 2000.

“When I was on NBC, you know, the network drama was heralded and we were cherished and actors were treated well and crews and directors and producers and writers had a say,” Julianna continued. “And I think that is what entertainment is. And if we can’t bring that back, then what’s the, you know, point?”

On Monday night, Jay confirmed the weekend’s rumors — that he may be heading back to “The Tonight Show” helm.

More than a week before, NBC announced they were going to move Jay and his “The Jay Leno Show” to 11:35 PM, but whether it’s with his new show or his old one, the comedian is expected back in late night, something Billy asked the actress about.

“Do you think people will hold a bit of a grudge when Leno returns to 11:35 PM?” Access Hollywood’s Billy asked the actress.

“I don’t know,” she said.

“He’s had issues with the writers before,” Billy said referencing Leno going back on the air with “The Tonight Show” at the request of NBC during the 2007 writer’s strike; Jimmy Kimmel, Conan, Carson Daly, Steven Colbert and Jon Stewart were also forced back on the air under threat of firing at the time. Letterman and Ferguson had interim agreements with their writers during the strikes so they were allowed on the air with the blessing of the striking writer’s guild.

“Yeah, I don’t know,” Julianna said. “I think it’s a tricky thing to try and comment on because I’m not there, and I think we all speculate a lot.

“I wish Conan had been given a chance,” Julianna added of Conan’s near eight-month stint as “Tonight Show” host, which could be coming to an end. “I don’t think he’s been given enough of a chance and I don’t think that’s the way you treat people.”

When asked by Billy if she would come on to “The Tonight Show” in March, Julianna said she’d have to wait and see.

“We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it,” she said. “Lots of things happen between then and now.”

But while Julianna said she would have to wait and see about appearing on “The Tonight Show,” if an opportunity came up, it may not be just her choice. Julia Louis-Dreyfus hinted earlier this year that CBS stars were being encouraged not to appear on the primetime “The Jay Leno Show” – pressure that could potentially remain even if Jay moves back to late night.

“Yes, there was a little pressure because as you know, you’re now on primetime and I’m on a different network,” the “New Adventures Of Old Christine” star told Jay last year when she appeared to cross party lines by appearing on the show.

“Obviously, I committed to doing your show and we’re friends,” she added. “I wanted to honor my commitment to you.”

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