David Letterman didn’t waste any time to take his digs at NBC and the official announcement that Jay Leno is leaving The Tonight Show next year to be replaced by Jimmy Fallon. “I got a call from my mom today, she says, ‘Well, David, I see you didn’t get the Tonight Show again,’ ” the CBS Late Show host said in his monologue to air tonight (see the preview below). “NBC, God bless ‘em, announced the official date for Jay Leno’s departure — no mention of his official date of return, however,” he added, alluding to the last time his longtime late-night rival was dumped from the Tonight Show for Conan O’Brien — only to return eight months later. Added Letterman: “It seems like we just went through this. Didn’t we just go through this? Jay Leno now is being replaced, and this is the second time this has happened. I mean, it’s crazy. He’s being replaced by a younger late-night talk show host — what could possibly go wrong? Honestly. They had pretty good luck with this in the past”.
As well as doing a Leno-themed Top 10 tonight, Letterman — who was passed over for the Tonight Show job in favor of Leno in 1992 and soon after departed for CBS – had more to say. From his desk tonight:
“Now earlier today, NBC announced that Jimmy Fallon will take over for Jay Leno as host of the ‘Tonight Show’ in February of 2014. This is – something’s wrong here. This happened once before with Conan O’Brien, and then they had to bring Jay back, and so he had to start his show all over again, and now it looks like the same thing is happening. And I just – I don’t get this. He’s retiring, so it says, and good for him. I’ve known him 38 years. I’ve known Jay Leno for 38 years, thank you. I don’t know what aspect of that you’re applauding, but thank you…So now he’s out again, but going out on top. So congratulations to Jay, a job well done. And, I mean, how many times can a guy be pushed out of the job, I mean. And what’s the matter with NBC? What’s the matter with these guys? You know, honestly, what are they thinking…?
“…And, as with everything in life, all I really care about is how will this affect me? That’s all I really care about. And, Paul, is there any way NBC can push me out of this job? Can they do that? I don’t know…So, here’s what it’s going to be, Paul. It’s going to be you and me and two guys named Jimmy. Right there, that’s not right. No, no, right now, we have a Jay, we have a Jimmy, we have a Dave. Oh, forget that. In February, kiss that goodbye – Jimmy, Jimmy, Dave…But good luck to Jay. I know he’ll be out on the road, getting it done and taking care of business and congratulations on a nice long run there at the ‘Tonight Show,’ if in fact you’re not coming back.”
Deadline's Dominic Patten - tip him here.