Picks and Pans Main: Tube

updated 09/06/1993 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/06/1993 AT 01:00 AM EDT

By the time you read (his, David Letter man will be a (week)nightly fixture on CBS. Close on his heels are Chevy Chase (Tues., Sept. 7) on Fox and Conan O'Brien (Sept. 13) in Letterman's old slot on NBC. So before the late-night horse race begins in earnest, here's a handicapper's tip sheet to the crowded field. David Letterrnan (see story, page 38): 2-1. A barn burner with speed to spare. The move up in class (to 11:35 p.m. ET) will only stir up his competitive juices. Ted Koppel: 5-2. Strictly speaking, he doesn't belong in this field. But while the others are jostling each other by the rail, look for Night-line 's Koppel to hold his own on the outside with what is still, night after night, TV's best public-affairs program. Jay Leno: 7-2. A real mudder. A tireless worker with a winner's heart and a plodder's hooves. Unlikely to finish first, but a solid bet to show. Conan O'Brien: 8-1. An intriguing dark horse making his maiden appearance. May stumble coming out of the gate, but then will make up ground with surprising celerity. Arsenio Hall: 10-1. A flashy sprinter beginning to fade. And his syndicated steed is the most vulnerable as the track grows crowded. Chevy Chase: 99-1. He had better be one hell of an interviewer, because, Lord knows, Chase hasn't been funny for many years. Each night he's got a half-hour head start on the rest of the field. It's not enough.

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