This evening's late night lineup definitely delivered the drama. For the first time, Jay Leno went after Conan O'Brien, before being DESTROYED on his own show by Jimmy Kimmel. O'Brien continued to go rogue, Letterman didn't let up, and more.
As has become tradition here this week, all of the noteworthy clips from tonight's broadcasts are grouped below by show and labeled accordingly.
But, first, it should be noted that—like any good story—the late night war has transcended itself to yet another medium: radio. This morning's broadcast of The Howard Stern Show on Sirius XM brought with it the most intense comments regarding NBC and Leno yet, courtesy the shock jock himself. In audio clips that Mike Byhoff obtained and uploaded, Stern attacked Leno in every sense of the word (and in every way possible), at one point calling him an "evil devil" and "horrible, horrible guy." And that's just the start of it. To listen to Stern's full rants, [CLICK HERE].
So now, as Wilhelmina Slater would say, let's do this bitch.
I. THE JAY LENO SHOW
10:20 PM ET: Just moments ago during his opening monologue, Leno made his first negative public statements about O'Brien since the news broke that NBC was canceling The Jay Leno Show and wanted to move the former Tonight Show host to the time slot currently occupied by his successor.
The most notable of Leno's remarks:
- "Welcome to the new show, I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Off NBC!"
- "Sarah Palin has signed on to Fox News to be a correspondent. Well, in a statement today, Fox said that—if Palin does a good job—they'll sign her to a long term contract. If she doesn't work out, they'll just blame Leno."
- With all the controversy going on here at NBC, actually, ratings have gone up, they've gone up. So... you're welcome!"
Stay tuned for video of Jimmy Kimmel's appearance on Leno's show, which is slated to happen at about 10:45 PM ET. Given Kimmel's Tuesday broadcast—in which he did the entire show as Leno—it should be an interesting segment. (Update: It's up! Just below.)
11:00 PM ET: Here is the promised video of Kimmel on Leno's show, participating in the 10@10 segment. And if you thought Kimmel's impersonation of Leno on Tuesday was nasty, just wait until you watch this.
Some choice quotes, courtesy Kimmel:
- [Asked by Leno what the best prank he ever pulled was] "The best prank I ever pulled was I told a guy that—five years from now—I'm gonna give you my show. And then when the five years came, I gave it to him, and then I took it back almost instantly."
- [Asked by Leno if he ever orders anything off of the TV] "Like NBC ordered your show off the TV?"
- [Asked by Leno what the record is for number of lap dances he's received in one night] "Strippers, I don't like in general. Because you have this phony relationship with them for money, similar to that of when you and Conan were on The Tonight Show together, passing the torch... you know what I'm saying."
- [Asked by Leno what he hasn't yet hosted, but would like to] "Oh, this is a trick, right? Where you get me to host The Tonight Show and then take it back from me?"
- [Asked why he came on to do the segment] "Listen, Jay, Conan and I have children—all you have to take care of is cars. I mean, we have lives to lead here. You've got $800 million, for God's sakes—leave our shows alone."
II. THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH CONAN O'BRIEN
12:00 AM ET: Moments ago, O'Brien opened The Tonight Show with several jokes at the expense of NBC and Leno, some of which seemed to all but confirm that his predecessor would soon become his successor.
Shortly thereafter, O'Brien discussed the news that porn purveyor Pink Visual had asked him to appear in one of its movies before playing a scrolling video of several possible names for the film (many of which attacked NBC and Leno). Then, O'Brien and announcer Andy Richter jokingly reminisced over a "classic" The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien moment.
12:25 AM ET: O'Brien's first guest, Rob Lowe, then talked with him about his own experience with leaving NBC.
III. JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE!
12:30 AM ET: Kimmel opened his show tonight with more jokes about NBC and Leno, though it was much tamer than his appearance earlier on Leno's show. Kimmel also dug up a 10-year-old NBC promo, but put his own spin on it.
(Special thanks to Gawker.TV Associate Editor Mike Byhoff for helping me out and grabbing the Kimmel video!)
IV. THE LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN
1:00 AM ET: Letterman devoted much of his monologue tonight to the situation with NBC and continued his tradition of bashing the network (and Leno). He also went "live" to NBC Studios in Burbank, CA to look for smoke coming out of the chimney, as if we were waiting for an announcement from the Vatican that a new pope had been chosen.
Later, Letterman told viewers about a meeting he had today with CBS President (and husband of the Chenbot) Leslie Moonves before going on a sarcastic rant about Leno and saying that he would "do the right thing" and give The Tonight Show back to O'Brien.
8:30 PM ET: For the third night in a row—likely due to CBS' realization that all eyes will again be on Conan O'Brien and The Tonight Show at 11:35 PM—portions of David Letterman's forthcoming broadcast have been released on the network's YouTube channel. Two of them deal with Letterman's previous heart surgery (the 10th anniversary of which is today), but the third—which is embedded above—continues the Late Show host's tradition of bashing the man he feels robbed him of The Tonight Show back in 1992; the man he feels is currently repeating history by robbing O'Brien of the same exact thing.
In the clip, Letterman tells his audience that "Jay is getting a lot of negative publicity, so he has released now a message reminding people of what he, Jay Leno, stands for," before playing a video that is reminiscent of a political campaign ad and equates Leno's reported retaking of The Tonight Show with the United States' killing of Native Americans for their land.
V. THE DAILY SHOW WITH JOHN STEWART
1:55 AM ET: Stewart, who has been rather mum on the whole fiasco so far, finally addressed it at the end of his show tonight, saying that Jeff Zucker was "like the Dick Cheney of television." Stewart also joked that Comedy Central had promised a pre-11:30 PM show to Johnny Oliver before playing a mock opening segment of the program.
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c|
|Click to view|
Vi. THE COLBERT REPORT
2:15 AM ET: In his opening for tonight's show, Stephen Colbert briefly—and uniquely—mentioned the situation by making a joke about Johnny Carson.
|The Colbert Report||Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c|
|Click to view|
VII. THE LATE LATE SHOW WITH CRAIG FERGUSON
2:30 AM ET: Unfortunately, some technical issues have so far prevented us from posting video from Ferguson's show, but please know that we're doing everything we can to bring it to you. (Update: Success! Video of Ferguson's opening is below.)
That said, here's a (manual) transcript of Ferguson's opening remarks from tonight:
I'm looking at all of this, uh, trouble in late night, you know, and everybody talking about "Oh, Jay going over there and Conan going over there, and which, you know, middle aged white guy's gonna get X million dollars at what point." And I'm thinking to myself, "I'm getting embarrassed," because I, I know this isn't really a late night talk show—it's just kinda something that happens right about the same time—but a lot of times, a lot of times I'm looped in with all of this, and I think, I'm feeling uncomfortable, I'm starting to feel a bit like an AIG, you know, executive or something. Like, [mumbling] an AIG executive. So, I'm not gonna talk so much about that tonight. I'm gonna talk about, there's an actual real news story going on, these people of Haiti and what they're dealing with. This is, this is horrifying. This is horrifying. It might be, it's one of the worst natural disasters, apparently, in, in recorded history. Um, so I think that's more important.
4:15 AM ET: Better late than never, right? Here's Ferguson's opening, in which he says what I transcribed above before taking on Rush Limbaugh for his statements regarding Haiti.
VIII. LOPEZ TONIGHT
4:50 AM ET: For all the masochists out there, here's the first few minutes of tonight's George Lopez monologue, in which he makes lame, unfunny jokes about NBC, Leno, O'Brien and Letterman (not that we'd expect anything different from him).
(Thanks to Kat for the Lopez tip!)
IX. LATE NIGHT WITH JIMMY FALLON
1:00 AM ET: Fallon's broadcast is only half over at this point, but—as expected—he has not said one word about the battle going on at his own network. If he does make any relevant statements, we'll have video for you. (Update: He didn't mention it once.)