David Letterman, the man who was at the epicenter of the original late night war, is no longer shying away from the new one. And last night Letterman's guest was pretty much the perfect foil to add some fuel to the fire on NBC's around-the-clock troubles: Brian Williams, the network's news anchor who fancies himself a funny man. In his interview with Williams, Letterman decided to look at the broader picture, posing this theory: Letterman thinks that the late night shakeup stories have been planted by NBC to deflect attention from the struggling Today show. That's actually not a totally unreasonable idea, considering how bad things are at the Today show.
Of course, Williams didn't really give him anything to run on from the rival network. When Letterman asked Williams to "blink twice" if Letterman was "on to something," the NBC anchor, despite his usual charm, maintained a straight face:
Monday night Letterman also made reference to the fracas, even as Leno was finally laying off his employers in his own monologue. Letterman opened up his Monday schtick with a joke about how CBS asked him to change his name to Jimmy.
Even though he'll have some new competition when and if Jimmy Fallon does take over for Leno, Letterman will stay at his comfy home at CBS, closing in on retirement. So he doesn't really have much to complain about. However, taking aim at NBC and Jay Leno is also nothing new for Letterman. The animosity, of course, goes bck to when Leno succeeded Johnny Carson for The Tonight Show slot. During the Conan O'Brien-Leno mess of 2010, Letterman was not shy about his feelings. In one show he said: "I've known Jay for 35 years, and what we're seeing now is vintage Jay, and it's enjoyable for me to see this. Lord knows I've got my own problems, but I just can't help myself."
Now we know that Letterman still can't help himself.