February 01, 1993 12:00 PM


NO SOONER HAD THE LATE-NIGHT DECISIONS been made than the self-referential gibes began. As The Tonight Show stagehands scurried about the set the night after NBC announced it would stick with Leno, he cracked, “It’s amazing how quickly they move when you’re the only thing they have left.” Later he quieted the audience, hooting over a double entendre he made to Katie Couric, by bellowing, “Hey, I’m the King of Late Night now.” The same night, Letterman, in the middle of his Top 10 list for best things about being a lame-duck President (“Don’t have to kiss up to Larry King anymore”), slipped in one of his own: “Shows don’t have to be very good until we get to CBS.”

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