Letterman says NBC won’t curb his pets

Warnings from NBC notwithstanding, David Letterman expects to take his latenight show to CBS virtually intact.

Addressing TV critics Monday night in Los Angeles, Letterman said he’ll be “doing as much as we possibly can” from his NBC “Late Night” show, including Stupid Pet Tricks (which he claims to own, it having originated on his NBC morning show) and the Top 10 List.

“I don’t foresee any specific changes at this time,” Letterman said, adding that it would “surprise me if we really don’t find us all together on the high road.”

Letterman was referring to remarks by NBC West Coast president Don Ohlmeyer that the network would seek to protect elements from the old Letterman show. Letterman jokingly called Ohlmeyer “my ex-wife” and NBC Entertainment prez Warren Littlefield “the short kid with the beard.”

Letterman acknowledged that the furor surrounding latenight TV was “stunning”and “unbelievable” to him, noting “I assume everything is OK in the rest of the world.”

Asked if his much-publicized $ 14 million salary would alienate his fans, Letterman quipped, “If that happens, I’ll just buy a new audience.”

The host called NBC’s decision to replace him with Conan O’Brien “very exciting” and said it would be “presumptuous and premature” to discuss a deal with Garry Shandling or anyone else to host a CBS show following Letterman’s.

Letterman said he anticipated competition for guests but not the sort of ugly booking wars that flared between “The Tonight Show” and “The Arsenio Hall Show.”

Letterman said he has no guests booked for the first week of the CBS show, which premieres Aug. 30.

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