February 26th, 2010
10:23 AM ET

The late night wars get political

David LettermanDavid Letterman got a lovely boost in ratings during NBC’s late night schedule flub, but as Jay Leno prepares to reclaim his old job as host of "The Tonight Show" on March 1, the former rivals will be battling for viewers once again.

Leno’s guest list for the first week back, you’ll recall, features Jamie Foxx and Olympic Gold Medal skier Lindsey Vonn on Monday and Olympic Gold Medal snowboarder Shaun White and Sarah Palin on Tuesday.

Sounds like pretty tempting television and Letterman isn’t going down without a fight. He has his own actor on Monday with the likes of Bill Murray, and will also have his own GOP card to play on Tuesday night with Mitt Romney.

He’s following that up with Tom Brokaw and Jerry Seinfeld Wednesday, Tom Hanks on Thursday and Matt Damon on Friday.

Filed under: David Letterman • Late Night comedy • television

soundoff (39 Responses)
  1. Grey Rzeznik

    To heck with all of them save Craig Ferguson. He's the only one I can stomach because he's bloody brilliant and the only one that's actually funny.
    Letterman's a snot.
    Leno is boring.
    Fallon who?

    March 1, 2010 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Monrob

    To g smith: The next president of the USA Romney? You are one month ahead of April Fool Day.

    March 1, 2010 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Not surprised

    TT- Really? Conan is the BEST late night host that was going! How could you say he has no timing or delivery? His whole show was based on it. Leno is boring and his voice is obnoxious. I can't wait for Conan to go to fox (assuming he does). He won't win the ratings war, but at least there will finally be a FUNNY late night host again. Leno sucks!

    March 1, 2010 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
  4. Str8 Outta Tx

    omg. good for nothing but laying on her back.

    March 1, 2010 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
  5. TT

    Conan is not funny. He is obnoxious! No one finds him as funny as he finds himself! He should stick with writing, he has no delivery, and no comic timing. Best thing NBC ever did was get rid of him, too bad it took so long!!

    March 1, 2010 at 6:44 am | Report abuse |
  6. Cindy

    Palin is smart not to go on Dave. He'll likely hit on her like he does every other woman he encounters.
    Welcome back Jay. Conan who?

    February 28, 2010 at 10:31 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Conan

    Hi everyone! I'm enjoying my PAID vacation! Look forward to getting to speak my mind soon! Enjoy your 15 minutes Jay!!! Palin is a piece of crap unable to furfill her duties to the people of Alaska!! She needs to go away ....WITH JAY!!!!!!!

    February 28, 2010 at 9:01 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Ron

    Jay is the best late night host since Johnny. He is back where he belongs. He did not ask for any of this but has sure been through a lot over the past year and handeled it well. Why in the world would NBC mess with a #1 show for 17 years. They sure have enough crappy shows and bad ratings to work on, leave late night alone. Anyone at NBC involved in the decision to move Jay should be out on their ear! What a mess. Thank God Jay is back. Take late night back Jay, you've got my ratings!

    February 28, 2010 at 8:47 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Janix

    Gee, at first I was a little taken back by G. Smiths comment, but then Jay's comment set me straight ; she was referring to Shaun White!!

    February 28, 2010 at 6:47 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Saly

    Hockey Mom – love your post!!

    February 28, 2010 at 6:22 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Susan - Canada

    You go Jay!! It will be great to have you back on the Tonight Show where you belong!!

    February 28, 2010 at 5:40 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Bianchiwawa

    i lurrrve mr. letterman!! i just lurve his humor and i must say he's far more great than leno =)

    February 28, 2010 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
  13. lucy2

    I much prefer Stewart/Colbert, but look forward to Conan hopefully returning to late night. I also like Chelsea Lately too, but for a different kind of show.

    I've never cared for Leno and wouldn't watch anyway, but having Palin on doesn't exactly make me want to change my mind. No thanks.

    February 27, 2010 at 11:50 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Richard

    By far the best of the late night hosts is Craig Ferguson...the man is self deprecating, edgy, silly, and his guests are the ones that Dave and Conan used to book, people who you will be talking about in the future, not ones you wish would just go away or already forgot about.

    February 27, 2010 at 9:47 pm | Report abuse |
  15. CKH

    Forget the whole lot of 'em! Chelsea Handler consistently has the best late night talk show. She manages to remain fresh and entertaining armed only with her acerbic wit and her "little nugget" sidekick Chuy.

    February 27, 2010 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  16. love frank

    back to normal, YES!

    February 27, 2010 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
  17. Tina

    Don't care for Palin or Romney, but if I had to choose one to watch, it would be the one with a brain...sorry, Sarah.

    February 27, 2010 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
  18. Jay

    I agree g smith! Shaun White for president! Who's the other person on that night? Sarah who?

    February 27, 2010 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
  19. Jim B

    I've always like both Jay and Dave. I was a happy to get to watch Jay at 10 and then Dave at 11:30. Both do a remarkable job and I think NBC sucks for not giving it a longer chance.

    February 27, 2010 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
  20. Head Diva In Charge

    Great, Mitt Romney. Can't wait *eye roll*.

    February 27, 2010 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
  21. Morning

    Unfortunately, I have a feeling people will tune in to see Palin. Personally she make my skin crawl but there is a large audience out there that hangs on her every word. Pathetic really. And I thought Leno was "supposed" to be a comedian not the keeper to the gates of hell having the devils advocate on the show and all.

    February 27, 2010 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
  22. Laurie

    It's NBC's poor judgment that got Jay in the spot he is now in. He is an employee of NBC and went with the flow. No matter whether one likes Dave or Jay, Jay has always had integrity, high moral standards and takes care of his staff. Give gim a break!

    February 27, 2010 at 7:41 am | Report abuse |
  23. Dani in AZ

    Letterman is the least obnoxious out of the lot

    February 26, 2010 at 11:18 pm | Report abuse |
  24. Dani in AZ

    I have a hard time watching any of those shows....

    February 26, 2010 at 11:18 pm | Report abuse |
  25. Russ

    Leno Rules! Was the biggest mistake made that NBC gave Conan the Tonight Show. Conan is not funny at all. Jay is nice guy and he is funny! Get over it everyone Jay will be back on top in 6 months.

    February 26, 2010 at 10:52 pm | Report abuse |
  26. ramiro

    2 passionate political know it all battling for such few viewers/
    start watching Kimmel at 1205am
    much better and funnier

    February 26, 2010 at 8:55 pm | Report abuse |
  27. JC

    President .... OF WHAT ?????

    February 26, 2010 at 6:58 pm | Report abuse |
  28. 2sday

    (@ g smith) And (clap) NOW you can break out of your delusional world...I agree with Christine with IL – next President? Perhaps when she can remember her ABCs without writing them on her hand! LOL!

    February 26, 2010 at 5:44 pm | Report abuse |
  29. martywalpole

    Letterman rules – for now. Conan will be back (the irony Arnold said that and he play Conan)

    February 26, 2010 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
  30. Str8 outta TX

    i hope not.
    we'd be better off with the creators of south park as president

    February 26, 2010 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
  31. Cristine from IL

    To G Smith – thank you for the best laugh of my week!

    February 26, 2010 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
  32. g smith

    Leno is the best, Lettermen sucks. Leno is having the next President of the USA on Tuesday Night. He knows how to book his quests.

    February 26, 2010 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
  33. Joelan3

    I never liked Leno and Fallon needs to stop laughing at his own jokes. they're not that funny. I feel as a statement to NBC that all Conan fans should boycott NBC 's tonight show. We have the power lets use it. I wouldn't watch the second coming if it was on Leno. As for Conan He'll do fine wherever he goes. And I did watch Conan when he was on the tonight show.

    February 26, 2010 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
  34. Hockey Mom

    I'm very disappointed in Jay and won't be watching. Palin? Really?? Was there no one lower on the whore list???

    February 26, 2010 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
  35. Toby

    Shocker that Palin will interview with Jay since he will agree to only ask questions she submits and can write on her hand.

    February 26, 2010 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
  36. Str8 Outta Tx

    i would much rather listen to a room full of children screaming.

    February 26, 2010 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
  37. Rudy Jordache

    DAVE RULES!!!! Jay should have stayed in prime time where everyone could have lost track of him.

    February 26, 2010 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
  38. Str8 Outta Tx

    check out Lopez tonight if you want something more.

    February 26, 2010 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
  39. Get serious

    Late night has always been political....

    February 26, 2010 at 10:25 am | Report abuse |

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