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October 10, 2015

Letterman finally weighs in on the battle between Conan and "Vintage Jay"

by Danny Gallagher, posted Jan 20th 2010 11:30AM
One man who has been suspiciously quiet about the never-ending battle over NBC's late night lineup is David Letterman. Sure he's mentioned it here and there in a monologue joke or a fake commercial, but he hasn't really let loose with the kind of spittle flying tirade that makes television worth watching.

Last night, the levee finally broke and Letterman's true feelings flowed out of him like a fine, smooth wine in a box with a wide mouth spout. No one was safe, not even Late Night host Lonnie Donnegan.

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Don't be fooled into thinking that Dave doesn't have a dog in this fight, even though he claimed that. Dave has been losing to Jay for years now, and if this tarnishes Jay's everyman persona to Joe America that means potentially more eyeballs on his show.

That plus the revenge factor makes Letterman hardly an unbiased observer, and makes these comments uncool in my opinion.

January 20 2010 at 11:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to ryan's comment

By the way, I'm not saying this because I like Leno. His comedy is stupid and boring. The only late night show worth watching is Craig Ferguson!

January 20 2010 at 11:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Actually Dave has talked about this on his show. He's made fun of Leno (through an impersionation) and he even offered advice on how to fix the mess. He basically suggested that they both be on the Tonight show, with Conan hosting and pull out Jay for a monogue/comedy routine segment, then send him away, because Leno sucks at everything else.

January 20 2010 at 11:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Joyce N.

Leno beat Letterman in the ratings for 15 out of 17 years on The Tonight show. He has plenty of fans. And he did that on many nights WITHOUT a good lead-in. Conan just couldn't cut it on his shot at TTS and that's what did him in. NBC is making the decisions, not Leno. It IS a business.

Letterman is trashing Leno out of sour grapes and trying to divert the attention away from his own personal problems. Conan does deserve some of the blame. If he'd been as funny as he'd been on his later show, none of this would be happening.

Now you can lighten the print on this pro-Leno comment, too, Gallagher.

January 20 2010 at 10:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

To Mike.
Who in his right mind thinks Leno is better than Dave.
Come on.

Theres you and some old people down in Florida.
Letterman is a legend.

January 20 2010 at 5:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Dave is a bitter old man who never was good enough (and still isn't) for the Tonight show. His ass was kicked by Leno and now he knows here comes Round II. Gee, a competitor shrilly takes on the guy who is better than he is . . . what a shocking surprise. Dave, fix your own insipid show, hit on a few more subordinates and then you can talk about values

January 20 2010 at 4:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Mike's comment

leno fans... how bland, safe and familiar do you need your television shows to be? yeesh. ratings don't lie... they tell me there's a lot of bland idiots in america. they don't prove to me that jay is any good.

January 20 2010 at 6:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Dave isn't good enough for the Tonight Show? Suuuuure... Even Johnny Carson preferred him to Leno.

January 21 2010 at 12:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Don't forget ABC was involved in all this - remember when Leno and Kimmel were on each other's shows on the same night, and it was thought ABC was trying to get him. The "keep Leno" part of all this came from that it seems - NBC didn't want to lose him to ABC and they came up with the "we'll find you another show" ploy. It was really similar to what they had done with Conan 5 years earlier, except the promise was a specific show- the Tonight Show. BTW -the best thing Letterman could say would be that he's looking forward to Leno coming back because he's easier to compete with.... Conan is just as creative as Letterman and I would imagine that has been a big concern over at CBS.

January 20 2010 at 3:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Not sure what you've been paying attention to but Dave didn't "finally weigh in", he's been destroying Jay and NBC every night since this happened. Check gawker for the daily clips, his evisceration of Dick Ebersol the other night was priceless.

January 20 2010 at 2:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Gill's comment

you might be new to this, but letterman makes jokes. and he often passes off very silly remarks with a tongue in cheek sincerity. it's what they call in the business a 'joke'. you may have noticed what they call in the business 'laughs'.

January 20 2010 at 6:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Lame. Jay didn't say "don't blame conan for what's going on right now." He was referring to himself being fired in order to give Conan the Tonight show 5 years ago.

But I can understand why Dave would be bitter and want to continue to paint Jay as the bad guy in all this.

January 20 2010 at 2:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Um... I'll blame Conan. If his show was good, he'd still have it. Whether it's to your taste or not, ratings don't lie, and show business is still... business.

January 20 2010 at 2:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to caiuslupus's comment

wasn't given any time to build ratings and he wasn't given a strong lead in to his ratings, because jay wasn't bringing in the ratings. and jay was especially losing the younger conan demographic.
um... you should apply for a job with the "mouth breathers" at nbc. um.

January 20 2010 at 6:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I have one thing to say to Dave - BRAVO!

January 20 2010 at 1:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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