Leno on Letterman and How Staying at NBC Is ‘a Gamble’

leno04.14.jpgIn the latest issue of GQ, Jay Leno talks about his decision to stay at NBC, moving to the 10 p.m. time slot and his relationship with David Letterman. Some highlights:

Q [deputy editor Michael Hainey]: There’s a scene in The Late Shift where Jack Welch of GE gives you the edge over Dave [Letterman] for The Tonight Show because of your “loyalty.” You’re being loyal again to NBC.”

A: Yeah, it’s a gamble.

Q: Do you worry loyalty this time could be taking you to a not good place?

A: It’s worked fine up until this point. I’ve never argued about money. Dave makes a lot more than I do. Way more. And I’m number one. But that’s okaaaay. How much pie can you eat?

And then there’s the whole dust up with Letterman:

Q: I heard that you wrote Dave a letter, after he had his open-heart surgery.

A: Mmm-hmm.

Q: What was in the letter?

A: Oh, just how funny I thought he was and how I owed him a lot. How important he was to me and all that.

Q: Did he respond?

A: Uh, no.

Q: Really?

A: But that’s okay. Where’d you hear that?

Q: That’s not okay.

A: Well, it’s not okay, but fine. What do you do, you know? I don’t know if he ever got it.

Q: It’s weirdly heartless.

A. I don’t know if he ever got it. He might not ever have gotten it. A middling might’ve said, “I don’t want to show this to Dave. It’ll upset him,” and thrown it away, so I don’t know. Ever talk to Dave?

Q: Ah, no.

A: Dave’s a great guy.

Q: Your relationship is a movie.

A: Well, it was a bad movie. That stupid Late Shift movie.

Q: Do you think you two will ever come around?

A: I hope so!

If you want our opinion, the best take on Leno’s 10 p.m. can be found on Bill Simmons’ March 19th podcast with former Rolling Stone executive editor and GQ features editor Jason Gay. Simmons, who wrote for the Jimmy Kimmel Show offers an interesting take on why Leno will be back on late night soon. Just listen.