Updated, April 4, 8:30 a.m. ET: Late-night hosts David Letterman and Jay Leno may have been ratings rivals for many, many years, but on Wednesday, the "Late Show" host paid tribute to his competitor. Earlier in the day, NBC had announced that Jimmy Fallon would be taking over hosting duties for "The Tonight Show" next year, marking the second time that Leno would be stepping down from the late-night program.
During Wednesday's taping of "Late Show," Letterman showed some sympathy for Leno and also honored him by devoting the Top 10 list to the comedian.
A transcript of Wednesday's show released by the network also reveals that Letterman used some of his desk time to share a few words about his fellow late-night host.
"I've known him 38 years," he said. "I've known Jay Leno for 38 years, thank you. I don’t know what aspect of that you’re applauding, but thank you. ... So now he’s out again, but going out on top. So congratulations to Jay, a job well done. ... But good luck to Jay. I know he’ll be out on the road, getting it done and taking care of business and congratulations on a nice long run there at the ‘Tonight Show,’ if in fact you’re not coming back.”
Earlier, during his monologue, Letterman also poked fun at the fact that he once again was not offered the hosting gig at "The Tonight Show": "I got a call from my mom today. She says, ‘Well, David, I see you didn’t get the ‘Tonight Show’ again,’” he joked in reference to losing out on the job to Jay Leno when Johnny Carson retired in 1992.
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