Howard Stern scolded Jimmy Kimmel for idolizing David Letterman and welcoming the CBS “Late Show” host onto “Jimmy Kimmel Live” this week — because Kimmel and Letterman will soon compete head-on when the Kimmel show moves to an earlier start time next year.
Stern was Kimmel’s first guest as the normally L.A.-based ABC late-night star produced his first show Tuesday night from storm-ravaged New York City. It was the second night of Kimmel’s long-planned week of shows from the city of his birth — Brooklyn — but Night One had to be cancelled because of Hurricane Sandy.
But on Tuesday, audience members and guests — including Stern, Tracy Morgan and musical guests Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings — were somehow able to make it to Kimmel’s temporary Brooklyn venue, despite a citywide shutdown of major roadways and public transportation.
For Stern, appearances on the late-night shows — particularly Letterman’s — are opportunities for him to weigh in on the late-night TV wars, a subject that evidently fascinates him.
So he brought up the subject of Letterman and Jay Leno with Kimmel because Kimmel’s show is due to move to an 11:35 p.m. (eastern) start time Jan. 8 — putting him in direct competition with Letterman’s “Late Show” and “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.”
Letterman happens to be scheduled to appear on Kimmel’s second Brooklyn show Wednesday night (midnight/11c on ABC) — a rare appearance for Dave outside of his own show.
For Stern, who was always merciless in his taunting of competing radio stations and personalities in his heyday as the nation’s top-rated morning radio personality, rolling out a welcome mat for a competitor is just something he doesn’t believe in — even though he has always seemed to enjoy a warm personal relationship with Letterman.
“I know [Jimmy] is nervous about the big interview with Letterman tomorrow,” Stern said, addressing the studio audience. “But … I don’t even know why he’s coming on your show. It makes no sense.
“[Kimmel and Letterman] will be competitors. You know, in radio, I always looked at anybody up against me at 6 o’clock in the morning [as competition],” Stern said.
“But you’re a very sick man,” Jimmy said.
“I am,” Stern admitted. “But you gotta be sick to win! Don’t you want to win? Don’t you want to beat Letterman into the ground? Instead, you’re welcoming him to the show. Beat him into the ground! He’s an old man! He’s ready to go down!”
Among the other highlights of Kimmel’s first show from Brooklyn: He took sidekick Guillermo along with him on a tour of his old Brooklyn neighborhood, where they met some of Jimmy’s childhood friends (he and his family moved away when he was nine) and even toured Jimmy’s old house. Here it is, in two parts: