Today's Video Link
Here's a CBS interview of a CBS star that everyone at CBS is terrified of pissing off. Still, Mr. Letterman does say some interesting things about his stature and deals briefly with comparisons between him and Johnny Carson. One key difference is that during most of Carson's tenure, his show held a near-monopoly on the making of young comedians' careers, whereas there are now many routes. So you can make a long list of comedians who became stars after a few good appearances with Johnny, whereas very few have soared because Dave or Jay had them on. Even Carson didn't (or couldn't) do that for very many during his final years.
I used to be a huge fan of both Letterman and Leno, and both were TiVoed every night. At some point, Dave's crankiness got to me and I now only record him when he has on a guest (like Albert Brooks, recently) I especially want to see. Nothing on those episodes causes me to want to retake my Season Pass. I still record Leno every night but I fast forward through any bit built on the foundation of people being willing to look foolish on camera — there are a lot of them — and I usually don't stick around for the second guest interview and sometimes not for the first.
I still like the monologues and Jay's general attitude. The guy likes his work and he likes his guests and he likes performing. I assume some or all of that is true of Dave but he sure tries to hide it. As I get older, I find myself less inclined to view a snide, sardonic attitude as cool or sophisticated. I like people who are unafraid to like things.
You may have heard the rumor that it's been decided that when Leno's current contract runs out in 2014, he'll step aside for Jimmy Fallon. It's not impossible this has been set but I'm more inclined to believe it's something that's currently under discussion, to perhaps be activated if the ratings continue on their current trajectory. And why before deciding that, wouldn't they wait to see how Jimmy Kimmel's relocation to 11:35 impacts everything in that time slot? NBC got in trouble once before by deciding (wrongly) that Jay's ratings would be going down so they'd better commit now to replacing him later. Are they really prepared to make that same mistake again? Maybe.
Anyway, here's Dave. You may have to watch a 30 second spot to get to the interview…