Leno just "expected it" and seemingly didn't do anything in response to Leno to try and take the chair.
BTW: Letterman's also a world-class prick. About 10 years ago now, my wife and I were guests of Team Rahal at the Indianapolis 500. We were blessed to be given a full package for the weekend which included hotel, meals, admission to pit row before the race, the garages, and the after party because Team Rahal won that year.
As we toured the Team Rahal garage, Letterman was there standing in a corner with a bodyguard next to him. (Bobby Rahal and David Letterman were co-owners of "Team Rahal" and the three cars they had entered that year.)
At one point, my wife leaned over to me and pointing at David Letterman said "There's David Letterman."
Letterman's body guard said to her "don't look at Mr. Letterman."
Excuse me? "Don't look at Mr. Letterman?"
Yup, that's what he said. One of the other couples who was with us also pointed and said "there's David Letterman" to which Letterman's bodyguard told them the same thing.
What kind of PRICK must David Letterman have been to have his bodyguard do such a thing. If the asshole didn't want to be seen, he didn't need to be in the garage.
Must've gotten his jollies over it or something.
Good riddance Letterman.
BTW: Letterman once did his show from Chicago at the Chicago Theater. Wife and I had tickets to go see the show taping and we did.
During the show's taping, Letterman never ONCE acknowledged the crowd once his monologue was done. The "commercial breaks" were filled with Letterman doing nothing but sitting at his desk and sipping water. He never once engaged the crowd past his monologue. It was as if the nearly 2,000 people that fill the Chicago Theater weren't even there.
Talk show hosts don’t engage the audience or their guests during the commercial breaks. As a kid, several of my family members wrote for Carson and I was often at Rockefeller Center to see the show. Carson never spoke to his guests or the audience once the lights went down. Something about “saving it for the show” was always the answer to my question. Comedians are infamous for not being either funny or particularly pleasant off-stage. They’re kind of angry.