7:00am PT by Chris Gardner
Jimmy Kimmel's Baby Helped End Dad's Longtime Feud With Jay Leno
The longtime feud between Jimmy Kimmel and Jay Leno is over, Kimmel tells THR's Scott Feinberg in a new Awards Chatter podcast. "Jay and I have made peace," says Kimmel, a fan and friend of David Letterman's who had voiced distaste for his hero's rival Leno. "After my son had his operation, he called me and he was very nice." (In a May monologue, the Jimmy Kimmel Live! host spoke of his son, William "Billy" John, having emergency heart surgery just days after he was born to correct a heart defect.)
Clearly touched by the connection, Kimmel returned the favor: "You can't argue with [Leno's] success and his longevity. I will say, when I was in high school and college, he was one of my all-time favorite comics."
Having some distance from the feud — which once had Leno taking jabs by alleging that he had a "mean streak," while Kimmel once said "fuck him" of Leno to a New York audience — seems to have helped Kimmel realize why it started in the first place. "You have to remember how much I love David Letterman. When all that stuff happened, I was just a fan, reading Bill Carter's book [1994's The Late Shift: Letterman, Leno, and the Network Battle for the Night.] and there was a villain and a hero, and Dave was the hero and Jay was the villain. I started off with a negative feeling about it. I sometimes insert myself into situations I have no business inserting myself into."
A version of this story first appeared in the Aug. 23 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.