"Welcome to my second annual first show!" joked Conan O'Brien during the premiere of his new late night show, Conan, on TBS. O'Brien made his big return to late night TV after leaving The Tonight Show in January 2010.
O'Brien may have gotten the last laugh...even though he's on cable, he beat both Jay Leno's Tonight Show and David Letterman's Late Show in the ratings. But that was expected on his first night.
Letterman and Leno fought back with big guests like Harrison Ford, who sat down with Letterman, and California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who spoke to Leno.
New York Times TV reporter Bill Carter, author of the new book The War for Late Night, says there is still plenty of animosity between the TV personalities.
"We can be safe in assuming that Conan is never going to send flowers to Jay, that's really where the deepest hostility is. I don't think Jay feels a lot of hostility and if he does, he doesn't like it. Jay wants people to like him. Jay wants to repair things. Dave is Dave, and although he has respect for all the other guys he doesn't really have relationships like that," Carter told INSIDE EDITION.
He warns that O'Brien should beware of some other fierce competition, from The Daily Show's Jon Stewart.
On The Daily Show, which airs at the same time as Conan, Stewart congratulated O'Brien: "I want to congratulate Conan O'Brien and his crew, they're back on television tonight, I don't know when." He pulled out TV listings and said, "I just want to check and see when, because I'm excited to..." breaking off, he exclaimed, "Son of a [expletive deleted]! Same time as me? Now I'll never be able to watch me!"
"I think Stewart likes Conan, basically, but now he's a competitor he'll try to beat his brains out," said Carter.