"I wanted to make something very clear here on the show this evening," Tonight Show heir Conan O'Brien said after getting a few obligatory punch lines out of the way. "I've known about this for a while. I've talked a lot about this with Jay. I am thrilled. I am absolutely thrilled that Jay is staying at NBC…He is a fantastic lead-in. He is a huge part of my success. I am indebted to Jay Leno.
"Also, I've talked it over with my producer and that means I can keep doing my Jay Leno impression."
"We're going to be doing a new show in the fall," Leno said. "We'll start at 10 p.m. right after the last hour of the Today show.
"I'll tell you how sneaky show business is. Do you know what CBS announced today? They're moving Letterman to 9:59. I couldn't believe it." (Watch the rest of his comments here.)
And speaking of his formidable funnyman rival…
"Welcome to the Late Show," Letterman said at the top of his show, before acknowledging the unusual turn of events. "Still at 11:35." (Watch here.)
Later, when discussing a meeting between President-elect Barack Obama and Al Gore, Letterman joked that Obama had "offered him the 10 p.m. slot."
Even Ferguson got in on the act: "Jay's getting a little older now. So 10 p.m. is kinda late-night for Jay."
Kimmel, whose slot was in jeopardy as ABC angled for Leno's post-Tonight services, also made funny out of the news.
"I'm not exactly sure of all the details that I read in the newspaper today, but I think I'm the new host of the Tonight Show," he joked. "I feel like a huge chin has been lifted off my shoulders."