Warren Littlefield, former NBC President of Entertainment and author of “Top of the Rock: Inside the Rise & Fall of Must See TV,” joined Brian on his radio show, and besides talking about his book, he weighed in on the late night wars of today and yesterday! Littlefield revealed that Letterman’s representation maneuvered him out of hosting The Tonight Show because they were “so aggressive and so difficult in their negotiation assuming they had Johnny the King, and they didn’t!” Littlefield continued, “When push came to shove, we didn’t have a choice…it was a terrible terrible crime to let David Letterman get away, but we only had one chair and ultimately my vote was to go to Jay Leno and it ended up being worth a few billion dollars to NBC.”
Littlefield went on to say that he thinks Letterman is brilliant at what he does but didn’t think he had the universal appeal that Johnny Carson had and that Jay would have. Littlefield thinks Jay never got the credit he deserves considering he is still number one given all of the changes in the late night landscape with Comedy Central, Jimmy Kimmel and Jimmy Fallon. Littlefield also explained why NBC most likely made the deal to have Fallon take over for Leno in 2014.