Late Night Talk Show Wars, World War Two
Not since Helen Kushnick, Jay Leno's late balls-of-steel manager, sparked off the Late Night Talk Show Wars has there been this much belicose sentiment in the television ethers.
This time, Stuttering John Melendez appears to be the causus belli. E! Television late night talker Howard Stern weighed in on the noteworthy stutterer's defection to The Tonight Show this morning., saying of the Doritos munching comedian, "he can never be me."
Other chestnuts were bandied about, like:
"I told (Leno) what an ass he is ... you're just an ass ... a dummy."
"Everyone in the industry is going to laugh at (Jay)"
"(Leno is) just desperate ... you're not edgy."
"(Leno) wants to be me and he doesn't want to be me -- he wants to be the good guy."
Marksfriggin.com does an excellent job of summing up the hostility and the tone:
"Howard said Leno asked him if he's mad that he's taking John. Howard said he asked Jay how much more material he's going to steal from his show. He said that Jay acted like he didn't know what he was talking about. Howard said he told Leno that he stole the idea of sending out some wacky guy to ask questions on a red carpet to celebrities. Jay told him that Steve Allen used to do that stuff. Howard said he asked Jay about the homeless game and how he stole that idea as well but Leno said that Steve Allen did that as well. Howard said that Jay just couldn't admit that he's stealing this stuff from him.
" ... Howard said he told Leno that he can't get 18-25 year old men to watch his show and what he's trying to do is get John, from his show, to get that audience. Howard said he told Leno that his show is lame ... and he can't develop his own people. Howard said that Leno also said he heard how John wasn't getting paid that well on the show. Howard said he told Jay that he was going to give Jay a list of what he pays people on his show so he can take care of all of them as well. He said he also found out that the previous announcer, Edd Hall, used to be Letterman's production guy which was kind of weird.
"Howard said this move (hiring John) was as weird as Jay hiding in a closet and spied on some NBC executives. Howard said Jay asked him if they're still going to be friends. Howard said they were never friends so, no, they're not going to be friends. He said he told him that he's the ... lamest guy on the planet. He said he doesn't care what he does but he looks like a stupid ass. He also said that John gets these jobs where he doesn't have to do anything and he's the luckiest guy around.
"Howard said that Jay has stolen like 20 elements from his show but won't admit it. He said that the head writer from the show might as well have a funnel from the show to his ass. Gary (Dell'abate) came in and said that he heard that Howard and Jay had worked things out and were going to ride the wave of publicity. Howard said that Jay called him again and asked him if he wanted to do his show to talk about this stuff. Howard said he's going to talk about it on his own show and not do Leno's show.
"Howard said that John could have come to him before taking that job to try and get more money. John came in a short time later to talk about it. Howard said that John's whole attitude has changed since this happened. He said he went to Atlantic City with John and John was mouthing off to the dealers down there. John didn't know what he was talking about."
Check out Marksfriggin.com for an excellent wrap up of the whole brutal rant of Stern's decomposing show here.
And as if this weren't inflamatory enough, ABC Late Night talker Jimmy Kimmell got into the mix, sending Stern a brutal letter(email?), saying, in part,"(Leno) plays dumb and nice but this guy is a fucking snake!"
Stern also mentioned that CBS Late Nighter David Letterman contacted him and had some words, but that wasn't going to be discussed on air.
Methinks The Second Late Night Talk Show Wars begun have ..