According to reports in the media, David Letterman and his producers are very keen to get former Tonight Show host Jay Leno on his CBS talk show as a guest.
NY Daily News reports “David Letterman wants Jay Leno to steal Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show thunder” and that one insider said “there’s been quiet talk behind the scenes for months that Dave will have Jay Leno on as a guest… producers waited until Fallon debuted (on Tonight), give him space out of respect, but are now ready to pull out all the stops”.
Jay Leno famously got The Tonight Show hosting gig over David Letterman, causing Letterman to move to CBS to start his own talk show, the Late Show. There was a supposed “feud” between them because of that and also Dave has been less than complimentary about NBC’s handling of things with the Leno-Conan debacle that saw Leno return to The Tonight Show after a mere few months ousting Conan O’Brien from the job.
Letterman and Leno have, according to the NY Daily News source, “recently had a 20 minute phone chat to smooth over any lingering anger… Letterman initiated the call in hopes of burying the hatchet”.
Having Jay as a guest on the Late Show will help boost ratings for the programme, now that newcomer Jimmy Fallon has been getting a lot of viewers throughout his opening week on The Tonight Show.
Another source has also been speaking to NY Daily News about the rivalry between the Late Show and The Tonight Show now that The Tonight Show tapes just a few blocks away in New York, saying “Letterman’s booking department is keeping track of everyone who has appeared on Fallon so far, and considering if they’re worth having… Letterman’s people aren’t taking the leftovers”.