I've been reading other TV columnists and writers this morning and most seem to agree with me: Leno did suprisingly well without his writers, while Letterman did little to make a convincing case why writers are important. Jay was fresher than he's been in years, while Dave was just Dave. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
Of course, that's just night one. The longer things go on, Letterman's advantage in attracting movie stars unwilling to cross the picket line on Leno may prove to be an insurmountable advantage for the "Late Show." But, as Huckabee showed last night, there will always be people willing to do what it takes to get a platform on national TV.
I'm still unclear on whether Jay was actually allowed by the union to write his own material - I've heard conflicting things. Kimmel clearly did little or no preparation, while Conan seemed somewhere in the middle.