David Letterman by Jeffrey R. Staab/CBS David Letterman by Jeffrey R. Staab/CBS
Jay Leno may be handing in his late-night reins in 2009, but don't expect
David Letterman to do the same for at least a few more years. "The way I feel now, I would like to go beyond 2010, not much beyond, but you know, enough to go beyond," he said in a new

Rolling Stone interview. "You always like to be able to excuse yourself on your own terms." That doesn't seem to be the case with Leno's Tonight Show departure next May. Letterman thinks Leno's getting a raw deal from NBC, who's trying to secure the comedian for a new gig. "Unless I'm misunderstanding something, I don't know why, after the job Jay has done for them, why they would relinquish that," Letterman said. "I have to believe he was not happy about it." The 61-year-old famously dueled with Leno over the Tonight Show hosting duties after Johnny Carson left in 1992, with Leno, 58, prevailing. Leno, who's repeatedly topped The Late Show in ratings, will be replaced by Conan O'Brien, whose Late Night will then be headed by Jimmy Fallon. And while O'Brien, 45, is a "very funny guy," Letterman is hesitant to discuss the redhead's potential success. "It will be weird to see Conan at 11:30, don't you think? Which is not to say he can't succeed, but, no, I don't know what the competition will be like," he said. "I hope we're able to do OK." - Joyce Eng