With Jay Leno preparing to take his final bow as host of “The Tonight Show,” his competition sent along a nice message via Twitter. Jimmy Kimmel, who has been at odds with Leno at times, writes, “Issues aside, 20 years at #1 is a remarkable achievement. Congratulations and best wishes to @jayleno on an incredible run.”
While the two haven’t been bickering through their monologues nearly as long as David Letterman and Leno have, there was definitely a strain on their relationship during the Conan O’Brien debacle. Kimmel appeared on Leno’s prime-time show and openly mocked him for taking “The Tonight Show” back and even did an episode of “Jimmy Kimmel Live” dressed as Leno and doing an impersonation.
Leno and Kimmel didn’t become direct competitors until 2011, when “Jimmy Kimmel Live” was moved from it’s midnight time slot to 11:35 p.m., directly opposing “The Tonight Show” and “The Late Show.”
Jimmy Fallon will debut his version of “The Tonight Show” Feb. 17 on NBC.