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Hosts mine late-night 'drama' for laughs

In this photo provided by NBC, Conan O'Brien (L) is interviewed by Jay Leno during Leno's final taping as host of The Tonight Show in Burbank, California on May 29, 2009. (UPI Photo/Paul Drinkwater)
In this photo provided by NBC, Conan O'Brien (L) is interviewed by Jay Leno during Leno's final taping as host of "The Tonight Show" in Burbank, California on May 29, 2009. (UPI Photo/Paul Drinkwater) | License Photo

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 13 (UPI) -- U.S. talk-show hosts Conan O'Brien, David Letterman and Jimmy Kimmel are mining NBC's late-night lineup woes for laughs on their respective shows.

NBC ousted beloved "Tonight Show" host Jay Leno at the end of last season and gave the position to O'Brien to keep O'Brien from moving to another network. NBC then gave Leno his own nightly, hour-long, 10 p.m. chat series, "The Jay Leno Show." When the prime-time series failed to be a strong lead-in for local news broadcasts, however, NBC announced it would push Leno's show back to 11:35 p.m., shorten it to 30 minutes and air "Tonight" at 12:05 a.m, followed by "Late Show with Jimmy Fallon" at 1:05 a.m.

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However, O'Brien said Tuesday he will not remain on "Tonight" if it is moved to 12:05 a.m. NBC has not yet commented on his announcement.

"Hello, my name is Conan O'Brien, and I may soon be available for children's parties," E! News quoted O'Brien as saying on Tuesday's edition of "The Tonight Show."

"Welcome to NBC where our new slogan is, 'No longer just screwing up prime-time,'" O'Brien said. "When I was a little boy, I remember watching 'The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson' and thinking, 'Someday, I'm going to host that show for seven months.'"

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"Things are getting interesting in late-night television," Letterman told the audience of his CBS show.

"You know what's going on, ladies and gentlemen? Chaos and craziness and mayhem ... You know what this means -- that's right, I knocked off another competitor. But listen to this, if Conan does leave 'The Tonight Show,' President Obama then has to appoint a replacement."

"I have to tell you, the folks here at NBC don't handle these things well," Leno said on "The Jay Leno Show" Tuesday. "They don't have a lot of tact. Like, after they canceled the show, they told me if I put on 10 pounds I can get on 'The Biggest Loser.' That didn't seem right."

TVGuide.com said Jimmy Kimmel donned a gray wig and fake chin, then impersonated Leno all night on his "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" show on ABC.

"Hello, hello, my name is Jay Leno ... and I'm taking over all the shows in late night," Kimmel as Leno said.

"It's great to be here on ABC," he added. "You know what ABC stands for? Always Bump Conan."

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