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David Letterman and Jay Leno shows in the same town

Moves to New York City and L.A. put the shows in the same city twice this year

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Is one town big enough for both David Letterman and Jay Leno? We’ll have two chances to find out as Late Show invades Leno’s home turf with a week of broadcasts from CBS Studios in L.A. May 9-13, and then The Tonight Show moves into Dave’s New York City stomping grounds (at Saturday Night Live‘s NBC Studio 8-H) May 16-20. For his part, Leno says he’s not worried: ”It’s not like we’re going to be bumping into each other on the streets. They’re both huge cities.”

During Letterman’s first road trip west since switching to CBS, expect to see the notorious lead-foot take to the freeways. The Late Show staff spent a week in L.A. in April taping bits with Dave and Paul Shaffer, and head writer Rob Burnett reports the culture shock was intense: ”We’d shoot a joke or two, then drive for an hour and a half.”

Meanwhile, Leno will stalk the crowded subways and mean streets when Tonight returns to Manhattan for the first time in more than 20 years. Leno anticipates a different tone for his interviews with passersby. ”When you talk to people in L.A., it’s ‘Hi, what do you do?’ ‘My name’s Gunter. I’m a cinematographer,’ ” he says. ”In New York City, people have real jobs.”

Both shows hope a change of setting will bring an infusion of energy. ”It’s great to have a new landscape to work with,” says Burnett. ”We’re fresh out of ideas for New York.” But to make sure the humor doesn’t get lost in the translation, he says, ”we’ve rewritten all the ‘Mets suck’ jokes to ‘Dodgers suck’ jokes.”