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What Really Went Down During the Conan vs. Leno Brawl

Photo Courtesy - Jim Smeal/WireImage/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- We all saw it play out during the dawn of 2010: Conan O'Brien vs. Jay Leno, the no-holds-barred, on-air battle royale that turned the realm of late-night TV into something more like a WWE wrestling ring.

But you don't know the half of it.

Bill Carter's new book, The War for Late Night, reveals what happened behind the scenes, the expletives that were hurled during closed-door discussions and the roller coaster that O'Brien, Leno, and their cohorts rode during that tumultuous time. Carter, the television reporter for The New York Times, also drops little-known tidbits about late-night TV's stars, such as Leno wears Payless shoes and David Letterman's staff thinks he needs mental help. He also uncovers who these men are when they're not slinging the jokes that put Americans to bed at night.

Of course, the war's only just begun. Monday's release of Carter's book coincides with the debut of O'Brien's new late-night show on TBS, a potential battering ram to the other network's post-11:00 p.m. offerings.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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