Letterman's 'Late Show' extends invite to ex-rival Leno: report

Wed Jan 28, 2015 4:12pm EST
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Comedian David Letterman's CBS "Late Show" reportedly has invited his former late-night television arch rival Jay Leno to appear as a guest on the program before Letterman retires from TV in May.

The offer was extended last year, according to a report published on Wednesday by tvinsider.com, which cited unnamed sources.

A guest appearance on Letterman's show by Leno, who stepped down last year as host of NBC's "The Tonight Show," could potentially be a ratings coup for CBS as it looks to capitalize on hoopla surrounding Letterman's May 20 send-off.

CBS and "Late Show" producer Worldwide Pants both declined comment on the report.

Last week, Leno brushed off a question about a possible offer to appear on the "Late Show" while speaking at the National Association of Television Program Executives conference in Miami, according to the report.

"I haven't heard that," tvinsider.com quoted Leno as saying. "I'll have to check into that."

Leno and Letterman became embroiled in a storied feud when NBC picked Leno over Letterman for the network's coveted "Tonight Show" hosting gig in 1992 when Johnny Carson stepped down.

Letterman, who was Carson's presumptive heir after hosting NBC's "Late Night" program in the time slot following "The Tonight Show" for 11 years, left NBC and moved to CBS to launch the "Late Show" opposite Leno in 1993.

Jimmy Fallon succeeded Leno on the "The Tonight Show" last year and Stephen Colbert, who recently stepped down as host of the news satire show "The Colbert Report," will take over the "Late Show" from Letterman beginning in September.

(Reporting by Eric Kelsey; Editing by Steve Gorman and Bill Trott)

Comedian Jay Leno hosts the 2014 Carousel of Hope Ball at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California October 11, 2014.   REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni