(AP) A teen-age movie reviewer sparked something of a booking brouhaha between late night rivals Jay Leno and David Letterman.
Producers of “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” were thinking of inviting eighth-grader Billy Norris on their show when he was quickly snapped up by Letterman, who planned to put the teen on his CBS telecast Wednesday night.
“I was completely blown away by it all,” Billy told the St. Petersburg Times on Tuesday. “I don’t think it will all sink in until after I go on.”
Billy, 14, a movie reviewer for the Times‘ youth-oriented features section “Xpress,” had first attracted the attention of producers at Leno’s NBC show. Leno’s team had seen Norris’ work on the newspaper’s Web site and last week asked for a videotape of the reviews he occasionally makes on a local TV station.
Gretchen Letterman, the Times‘ Lifestyles editor and sister of Leno’s chief rival, was soon chatting with her brother when she mentioned Billy might be appearing on the Leno show. So while the “Tonight Show” waited for videotapes, “The Late Show With David Letterman” pounced.
“It was not me at all,” Gretchen Letterman said Tuesday. “It was all Billy’s talent that got him noticed in the first place.”
Is the Leno team still interested? “We never comment on a booking or an inquiry,” an NBC spokeswoman said Tuesday. Norris is still sending the videotape.