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Carson Daly on Surviving the NBC Mess Nightly: Thanks, Letterman!

Carson Daly, Conan O'Brien, Jay Leno Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images; Paul Drinkwater/NBC;

Carson Daly is one happy man.

If Conan O'Brien had decided to stay at NBC, it would have meant the death of the former MTV VJ's eight-year-old talk show, Last Call with Carson Daly. To put it simply, a late-night lineup of Jay Leno, O'Brien and Jimmy Fallon would have meant no more time left in the schedule for Daly.

While NBC may have been ready to put the kibosh on Last Call, Daly insists he couldn't be happier about remaining at the Peacock network…

"It's been interesting and oftentimes sort of frustrating, but at the end of the day, NBC has been crazily supportive of what we've done," Daly tells me. "I do the best I can with what we're given. I'm thrilled to have my job."

Daly says he didn't even mind when shots were taken at him during the late-night drama, including David Letterman dismissing him "as the Pluto of talk shows."

"I thought it was great," Daly says. "I mean, Letterman saying my name every night, saying that I have a show on at 1:30 is just incredible advertising. Not bad."

Last Call returns on Monday after a winter hiatus. Daly will continue shooting "documentary-style" by interviewing guests on their own turf. When Daly and I talked, he had just shot with David Arquette in the downtown L.A. factory of the actor's clothing line, Propr.

"There he is in his wifebeater, actually hand-pressing silk T-shirts," Daly says. "I spent an hour with him talking about his life and his passion."

Daly isn't exactly competing with any of his late-night cohorts.

"It's really not so much about names," he says when asked to name his dream guest. "If you would have asked me a year ago, I would have said, 'I'd love to have Robert De Niro or Tom Hanks.' I'm just enjoying finding younger people in Hollywood who are interesting and have stories outside of what you hear when they talk about things on other late-night-show couches."

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Get more television scoop at Watch With Kristin.

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