When first we heard the shocking announcement Monday about Jay Leno’s move to NBC’s 10 p.m. slot next year, we half-expected Conan O’Brien to storm the Tonight Show set and beat Leno to death with Kevin Eubanks’s guitar (this still might happen). So what did happen on Conan last night? How did Letterman respond? Reactions from all relevant late-night hosts, after the jump.
Conan (following his first commercial break):
“I have to talk about something that’s happening in my life. I woke up this morning and I saw something on the front page of the paper that absolutely shocked me. I was stunned and I have to say I didn’t see this coming and I just had to share it with you for a second. Check it out ladies and gentlemen – today’s New York Post (he holds up the paper and the camera zooms in past the Jay Leno headline to the weather). It says here showers and 51 degrees. 51 degrees in December! […]
“Let’s talk about this on a serious note for just one moment, I’ve had many people calling me today saying, “What is all this? “What’s happening?” Jay Leno is going to be going in at 10 on NBC. I wanted to make something very clear here on the show this evening. I’ve known about this for a while. I’ve talked a lot about this with Jay. I am thrilled. I am absolutely thrilled that Jay is staying at NBC. He has been my lead-in on this program for 16 seasons. He is a fantastic lead-in. He is a huge part of my success. I am indebted to Jay Leno. And I love the idea that that relationship is going to continue. He is going to be my lead-in continuing, I hope, for a long, long time. Congratulations to Jay Leno. This is a happy ending. It’s very nice. We’re thrilled for him and we’re thrilled for everybody at the Tonight Show. Also I’ve talked it over with my producer and that means I can keep doing my Jay Leno impression.”
Letterman (during his monologue):
“Welcome to The Late Show. Still at 11:35.”
“President-elect Barack Obama met with Al Gore yesterday. The meeting went well — Obama offered Al Gore the 10 p.m. slot. And he said yes.”
Jimmy Kimmel (after first commercial break):
“This has been an exciting day in the world of late-night television. I’m not exactly sure of all the details, but I read in the newspaper today, and I think I’m the new host of The Tonight Show. Am I? Not positive. People have been asking me all day what’s going on with this Jay Leno thing. If you haven’t been following the story, NBC, a few years ago, decided that in 2009, they would replace Jay Leno on The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien. They figured Jay would retire, but Jay can’t retire because he’s got like 185 car payments to make. So he has to work. Recently people began speculating that once Jay got pushed out at NBC he would come here to ABC, which would mean we would be pushed back deep into the night. But last night they surprised everyone by revealing that Jay will stay at NBC and do a show in prime time at 10 every night. Which I assume means he’s not coming here — which also means that I let him shower with me for no reason at all. They say this could bring NBC the one thing it is currently lacking in primetime — which is anything at all. Although it is probably bad news for my write-in campaign to save Lipstick Jungle. I think I’m going to have to give that up. I’m not going to lie: I feel like a huge chin has been lifted off of my shoulders. I want our loyal viewers to know that I spoke to the president of ABC this morning and he assured me that, unless something better comes along, I will be on this network for many years to come.”
“You’ve all heard the big news from NBC, that Jay Leno is moving to ten, which I think couldn’t be better. That’s great. Because Leno goes on for an hour, then the news, then Conan for an hour and we’re just ramping it up — people are going to be ready for another hour of talk.”
Also, presumably Carson Daly had a television show last night, but thus far no record of this has been discovered.