Less than a month ago, Neil Young took the stage of “The Tonight Show” to perform “Long May You Run” to help send off departing host Conan O’Brien. At Sunday night’s (February 28) Winter Olympics closing ceremony, Young again performed “Long May You Run” on NBC, which is somewhat poetic given that Monday night (March 1) marks the return of Jay Leno as the host of “The Tonight Show.” Leno’s comeback has brought out the best in the late night performers, as not only is his show stacked with top-shelf guests, but David Letterman, Jimmy Kimmel and Jimmy Fallon are all back with new episodes and great lineups.
Let’s start with “The Tonight Show.” Monday night’s show is a little weak (Jamie Foxx and Olympian Lindsey Vonn are on), but things really get going on Tuesday (March 2) with Sarah Palin, gold medalist Shaun White and Adam Lambert. Wednesday (March 3) features the cast of “Jersey Shore” and Avril Lavigne, while Thursday (March 4) will have Brett Favre. Leno finishes off the week on Friday (March 5), featuring Morgan Freeman and Meredith Vieira.
Over on current ratings champ “The Late Show with David Letterman,” Monday features Bill Murray and Ludacris. On Tuesday, Letterman welcomes Mitt Romney, while Wednesday features Jerry Seinfeld. Thursday will have Tom Hanks and Spoon, while Friday will have Matt Damon. That’s a pretty killer lineup that should make for an interesting toe-to-toe between rivals Letterman and Leno.
Leno’s return could really provide a boost to Jimmy Fallon, whose show also has a big week ahead. It kicks off on Monday night with “Remember Me” heartthrob Robert Pattinson. Fallon will also jaw with Wesley Snipes on Tuesday and Zach Galifianakis on Thursday. Fallon’s show always features excellent music, and this week’s is no exception, as Ludacris and Silversun Pickups will both play sets on the show. Even Carson Daly has a high-powered set of shows this week, with Phoenix on Tuesday and Oscar nominee Jeremy Renner on Wednesday.
Jimmy Kimmel will talk to Anne Hathaway on Tuesday, Ethan Hawke on Wednesday and Queen Latifah on Thursday. In perhaps the week’s most intriguing match-up, Robert Pattinson will be a guest on “The Daily Show” on Tuesday. (Pattinson will also visit with the ladies of “The View” on Tuesday, which should be a whole different ball of wax.)
Whose show are you most looking forward to this week? Leave your thoughts in the comments!