For one night, Jay Leno and Jimmy Kimmel will solve the problem of booking guests during the writers’ strike by appearing on each other’s show.
The swap comes Thursday, with Kimmel traveling to Leno’s studio in Burbank, Calif., and Leno returning the favor in Hollywood. Both shows are taped on the same day they air.
“There are only a few people in the world that know how tough this job is,” Leno said Sunday. “Jimmy is one of them. It will be fun to discuss who’s a good guest, who’s a difficult guest and everything else that comes with sitting behind these desks.”
Joked Kimmel: “If Jay and I can come together and guest on each other’s shows, then surely there is hope for peace in the Middle East.”
ABC’s Kimmel came to Leno’s defense on the air Wednesday, urging picketing writers to back off the “Tonight Show” host.
Both men’s programs returned to the air last week without writers due to the ongoing strike by the Writers Guild of America. Their jobs were made even more difficult with the reluctance of stars to cross picket lines. The Screen Actors Guild has encouraged its members to appear on David Letterman’s “Late Show” and Craig Ferguson’s “Late Late Show,” where writers have gone back to work.
Leno’s NBC “Tonight Show” featured comic Howie Mandel, host of NBC’s “Deal or No Deal,” on Thursday, with an animal expert and comedian on Friday. (MSNBC.com is a joint venture between Microsoft and NBC Universal.)
Besides Kimmel, Leno’s only other announced future guest is Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul on Monday night.
Kimmel’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live” on Monday will feature Kathy Griffin and Scott Baio, two actors more popular recently on reality shows, and the rock band Velvet Revolver.
Without such booking problems, Letterman has lined up actors Tom Hanks, Lucy Liu and Morgan Freeman for shows this week.
Leno is involved in a separate dispute with the writers union. The guild contends Leno, who is a member, cannot write his own jokes and perform them in a monologue; Leno and NBC say the guild’s own contract allows this. The writers have threatened disciplinary action against Leno, but a spokeswoman said Sunday no decision had been made on what to do.