By Whitney Pastorek
October 19, 2006 at 02:00 PM EDT

Ooh, now this is intriguing: Variety columnist Brian Lowry suspects that Jay Leno (pictured, with guest Jennifer Love Hewitt) may not go so quietly when the time comes for him to transfer power to his successor, Conan O’Brien, in 2009. An excerpt:

Given the shortage of personalities capable of enduring the daily grind, Leno could dock in any number of ports should he wish to continue hosting a latenight show. And while he has given no indication of a desire to do so, the smart money says that a comic who stacks 150 corporate and club dates on top of his Tonight chores won’t be content to simply go headline at Caesars Palace.

This, to me, is great news. Not because I’m particularly fond of Leno (although really, is there anything more raucously entertaining than Jay putting together a reel of clips he found on YouTube, then uploading that entire segment to… YouTube?) but because the early ’90s battle for the Tonight Show gig between Leno and Letterman led to the best comedy of the latter’s career, and I’m in favor of any skirmish that forces other people to step up their game. Late-night TV is at its best when rocked with scandal and fueled by rage. We should all be so lucky. Don’t go down without a fight, Jay!

(PS: That said, I’d rather watch Conan. You?)

In unrelated news, I went to the Hello Deli to grab some meatloaf yesterday, and in the five minutes that I stood there, a grand total of 11 different people came in to have their picture taken with proprietor/Letterman sidekick Rupert Jee. I found this situation both hilarious and incredibly frustrating, as it was preventing me from getting my damn meatloaf. Thus, PopWatchers, I must beg of you: If you’re in town and taking the minor-celebrity tour of New York, please be aware that sometimes there are actual NYC residents underfoot. And sometimes, we’re just trying to order our damn meatloaf and get off the streets before the line for The Color Purple blocks the door to our building again, okay? Thanks.

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