Letterman Zings NBC, Offers Them Advice

by | January 13, 2010 at 1:37 PM | Show & Tell, TV News

David Letterman (CBS)

David Letterman (CBS)

If David Letterman weren’t such a classy guy (okay, except for that whole unfortunate blackmailing incident), he would be smarting with schadenfreude over the shenanigans at NBC, his former employer.

While his ABC late-night counterpart Jimmy Kimmel tore it up with a wicked Leno impression, Letterman kept it clean (complimenting that “nice fellow” Conan, who’s in tears), kept it funny (he did his own impression of Jay “Big Jaw” Leno) and was even kind enough to let his old bosses know how they can “fix” their TV trainwreck, in what may be the sharpest breakdown of the situation so far.

On Tuesday’s ‘Late Show,’ the current late-night king (NBC’s nonsense has been a boon for Dave) fired off some zingers.

The best of Letterman’s late-night lashings:

~ “Things are getting interesting in late night television … chaos and craziness and mayhem … Conan O’Brien, who was the host of ‘The Tonight Show‘ over there at NBC, announced that he would not follow Jay Leno at 12:05. You know what this means – that’s right, I knocked off another competitor.”

~ “Conan said he made the decision not to follow Leno at 12:05 after he talked to Johnny Carson.”

~ “I got a call just before I came out here from NBC, and they said, ‘Look, look, we still don’t want you back.’”

~ “If Conan does leave ‘The Tonight Show,’ President Obama then has to appoint a replacement.”

~ “Simon Cowell is leaving ‘American Idol,’ but don’t worry – we’ve checked and Jay’s fingerprints are nowhere on this one.”

~ “And now, according to The New York Times, al-Qaeda is claiming responsibility for the wreckage at NBC.”

Jokes aside, Letterman took a thoughtful amount of airtime to impart his take on what’s behind the “debacle” caused by the “programming geniuses” at NBC: “Don’t kid yourselves, this is all about money.”

“This whole mistake has cost them hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars,” says Dave, who should know since he started out at the network back in 1982. “And now NBC has to do something about it. And they have to do one of two things. They have to either pay [Conan] an enormous amount of money [as much as $40 million some report]–and that’s the last thing they want to do–or they just want Conan to quit.”

“They just want Conan to go away and do a show in his basement. That’s exactly what they want,” Dave summarizes. “But Conan’s a smart kid. He’s in it for the cash. Or they waive a non-compete clause—so he can go to Fox … or come here to take my job.”

Watch Dave offer NBC “free genius TV advice” below: