When it comes to musical guests, late-night talk shows are as different as their wise-cracking hosts. ''Late Show With David Letterman,'' for one, is known for showcasing critically respected artists, while ''Last Call With Carson Daly'' has a teen-friendly ''TRL'' edge. We spoke to the folks who bring you the tunes in the wee small hours.
LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN
RECENT GUESTS: Clay Aiken, Shelby Lynne, and the Alkaline Trio. ''We try to book music we'd want to listen to,'' says ''Late Show'' producer Sheila Rogers, who arranges the acts with music coordinator Sheryl Zelikson. ''At the same time, we also try to showcase the phenomenon of the moment.'' ON THEIR WISH LIST: the Rolling Stones, Neil Young MEMORABLE PERFORMANCE: ''Iggy Pop was shirtless and wearing long gold gloves and had a large bunch of broccoli hanging from his neck,'' Rogers recalls. ''He proceeded to run into the audience. People were frightened.''
THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO
RECENT GUESTS: Britney Spears, OutKast, Toby Keith, and Kid Rock ON THEIR WISH LIST: the Stones MEMORABLE PERFORMANCE: ''The Vines tore apart the set in rehearsals,'' says the show's music producer, Barbera Libis. ''They started using their guitars to shatter glass, which sent the crew running for cover. They were escorted off the lot.''
THE LATE LATE SHOW WITH CRAIG KILBORN
RECENT GUESTS: the Ataris, Joss Stone, and Elvis Costello. ''Along with the chart-toppers, we like to break new artists and bring back old favorites,'' says talent exec Alisa Gichon, who likens Kilborn to the ''DJ of an alternative radio station.'' ON THEIR WISH LIST: U2, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Madonna, AC/DC MEMORABLE PERFORMANCE: ''Jackyl's Jessie James Dupree performed 'Highway to Hell.' At the end,'' says Gichon, ''he grabbed a chain saw and carved Craig's name into the top of a bar stool. Then he took the stool and smashed the drum kit. Very rock & roll!''
LAST CALL WITH CARSON DALY
RECENT GUESTS: the RZA and ODB, Stellastarr*, Erykah Badu, and Phantom Planet ON THEIR WISH LIST: Pearl Jam, U2 MEMORABLE PERFORMANCE: ''Christopher Walken was rehearsing for 'SNL' the day Fischerspooner was taping,'' says talent exec Jamie Granet, ''and he stopped to watch. He seemed captivated. That's the kind of performance you hope for.''
LATE NIGHT WITH CONAN O'BRIEN
RECENT GUESTS: the Strokes, Joshua Bell, Dolly Parton, and the Polyphonic Spree ON THEIR WISH LIST: U2 MEMORABLE PERFORMANCE: ''The drummer from Goldfinger flipped Conan upside down, and he landed on his head,'' says talent exec Jim Pitt. ''Everyone thought, Oh, my God, he's going to be paralyzed.'' O'Brien sidekick Andy Richter later framed a still from the show with this quote: ''For a minute there, I saw my vacation home going to the sh -- -er.''