NEW YORK – Jimmy Kimmel (search), you've been demoted.
Tom Green (search) has already taken your place in the late-night pecking order -- and his new show is only two days old.
The New Tom Green Show, airing weeknights from midnight to 1 a.m. on MTV, is the freshest late-night show to come along in years.
I've been a fan of Green's ever since his first show premiered on MTV in 1999. But I never dreamed he would have the finesse to don a suit and tie to host a mainstream late-night show that sacrifices none of the eccentric quirks that made him famous.
Someone at MTV deserves a laurel and hearty handshake for having the imagination to hand Green an hour every weeknight to do whatever he wants.
Based on just one show - Monday night's premiere -- it's not farfetched to conclude that Green is a force to be reckoned with, a creative talent and natural broadcaster in the tradition of the young David Letterman (search).
On his new show, Green is still bedeviling his parents and cavorting occasionally with dead animals (on Monday night, he used a deer's head as a puppet).
But in every other respect, Green signals that he's serious about being a late-night player.
His new show comes complete with a conventional set (a desk with prop microphone and guest couch), a sidekick/announcer (old pal Glenn Humplik) and musical accompaniment (genial pianist Ed Scott).
He even emerges at the show's outset from a colorful curtain just like Johnny Carson's, and has celebrity guests like the other guys too. Monday's lineup included rapper Ludicris, who had some choice words for Bill O'Reilly, and actor Seth Green (search) (no relation), who Tom escorted across the street to visit the home of one of the show's Burbank neighbors.
Other outdoor bits included the first episode of Tom and Glen's cross-country hitchhiking trip, which included showing up at Sally Jessy Raphael's house to beg for money. (She gave them $300 to get rid of them.)
In another bit, Green went to Quebec City to accost French-speaking Canadians. Peering earnestly into a French-English dictionary, he said politely (in halting French) to one shocked Quebecois, "Excuse me, I'm bleeding from my anus. Where's the emergency room?"
Of all the late-night hosts, only Green has the ability to keep you on the edge of your seat.
If I were any of the other guys, I'd be worried.