David Letterman Rips "Crazy" Tonight Show Succession Plan: "What Are They Thinking?"
David Letterman | Photo Credits: Jeffrey R. Staab/NBC
Shortly after NBC announced that Jimmy Fallon would be taking over The Tonight Show from Jay Leno next year, David Letterman got a phone call. But the call wasn't from Leno, Fallon or even Conan O'Brien.
"I got a call from my mom today. She says, 'Well, David, I see you didn't get the Tonight Show again,'" Letterman joked in his Late Show monologue Wednesday, as obtained by Deadline. "NBC, God bless 'em, announced the official date for Jay Leno's departure — no mention of his official date of return, however."
It was only a matter of time — in this case, hours — before Letterman took aim at the man and the network that passed him over for The Tonight Show job more than two decades ago. When Johnny Carson announced he planned to retire, it was between NBC's then-Late Night host Letterman and frequent Tonight Show guest host Leno. Spoiler alert: Leno got the gig.
When Leno returned to the gig in early 2010 after having left The Tonight Show a year earlier to make way for new host O'Brien, Letterman's material took aim at Leno and NBC night after night. "It seems like we just went through this. Didn't we just go through this?" Letterman said on Wednesday. "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."
"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," Letterman continued from his desk on Wednesday's show. "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?"
Letterman then jokingly asked his longtime band leader Paul Shaffer if there was anyway NBC could push Letterman out of his job. "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."
Letterman even went so far as to do a Leno-themed Top 10 list. Check back with TVGuide.com when the video is available.
What do you think of Letterman's comments?
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