When Jay Leno was awarded The Tonight Show over David Letterman it began a war that has never ended. The war heated up again when Leno came back to reclaim his 11:30 time slot as The Tonight Show host. Now Leno has two enemies, Conan O’Brien and David Letterman.
Late Show With David Letterman CBS 11:30 PM is King of Late Night
David Letterman moved to CBS after being denied his chance to host NBC’s The Tonight Show. When Jay Leno was given The Tonight Show over Letterman it began a late night television war that continues to this day. The Late Show with David Letterman is a perfect place for Letterman to exhibit his biting wit and his subtle interview style that disarms his guests.
When it comes to monologues, Letterman’s are average but his strong suit comes from the special sight gags and events he holds on the street outside the Ed Sullivan Theater. The other late night talk shows try to break the fourth wall but Letterman has cornered the market on breaking through the fourth wall and creating an atmosphere in the midst of Manhattan outside his studio.
Letterman’s signature bits that make him special, range from his classic Top Ten List that feature famous guests or athletes to Stupid Pet Tricks. Letterman’s adjustment to the 11:30 PM time slot wasn’t overnight but he has created his own unique audience.
Jimmy Kimmel Live ABC Midnightis 2nd Best in Late Night with a bullet
Jimmy Kimmel Live has broken the mold of late night television and stomped it into the ground. Kimmel’s approach is a mix of his own style and does take some of Letterman’s fourth wall ideas and takes them to another level. Kimmel’s best when he involves his cast and crew in the show. Kimmel’s Uncle Frank, Veatrice, and Guillermo are all regulars Kimmel plays off of during the monologue and throughout the show.
Kimmel is also one of the best interviewers in the late night genre. Kimmel likes to throw curve balls at his guests but rarely makes them uncomfortable. His interview style flows well and is easy to watch. Kimmel’s guest list is always strong and when he has an opening he loves to bring in his former co-host of “The Man Show,” Adam Carollo.
Kimmel’s best bit is on Thursday nights and could be the funniest bit on late night television. This Week in Unnecessary Censorship is a segment that has grown over the years and never loses it’s edge. The segment takes normal interviews or statements and bleeps them, making a relatively innocent statement look much different. By far the funniest two minutes on television.
Conan O’Brien Show TBS 11:00 PM is 3rd Best of Late Night While Waiting
The Conan O’Brien Show will take to the air on November 8, 2010. O’Brien will be handcuffed by his separation agreement with NBC but judging by his live act he has already adjusted some character names as he prepares to take to the air in November. O’Brien’s interview style and off beat comedy should play well at 11:00 PM on the cable network.
O’Brien was riding a wave of popularity after he took a stand with NBC and refused to relinquish The Tonight Show to Jay Leno. O’Brien received support from David Letterman and Jimmy Kimmel nightly on their shows as the two were relentless, chastising Jay Leno for taking back The Tonight Show from O’Brien.
Conan O’Brien found himself in the same situation as Leno, when he was in negotiations with TBS. O’Brien said he would not bump George Lopez from his 11:00 PM time slot. Lopez called O’Brien and convinced him that he would have no problem moving back an hour and following The Conan O’Brien Show.
The Tonight Show NBC 11:30 PMis 4th Best in Late Night TV After 10 PM Fiasco
Jay Leno is back in the seat of The Tonight Show and it was just as ugly as his original ascension into the host position when he took over for the legendary Johnny Carson. Leno plays well in the Midwest and that is the market NBC is shooting for.
Leno’s bits are safe and for lack of a better term, “Old School” late night fare. Leno is great for the over 55 crowd but those under 50 aren’t going to pay him much attention. Leno’s standard bit that gets the most laughs is his Jay Walking segment. Leno interviews people on the street and asked them questions ranging from United States History to current affairs.
The Late Late Show CBS12:30 AM is 5th but Unique Style Gives Him College Audience
Craig Ferguson and The Late Late Show are an acquired taste. Ferguson has a style of his own, although he did commandeer his soft open, talking to the audience before the official open, from Jimmy Kimmel. Ferguson enjoys doing skit comedy when possible and takes a page out of David Letterman’s book by continually making fun of employers, the CBS Network.