Friday, April 04, 2014

David Letterman Announces His Retirement

After working in late night TV since 1982, David Letterman announced yesterday that he will retire from CBS in 2015. Dave hosted the "Late Night with David Letterman" show on NBC from 1982-1993. After the debacle with Carson leaving and Leno stepping in, Dave went to CBS to host "Late Show with David Letterman" starting in 1993. His hero Johnny Carson worked in late night TV for 30 years, from 1962-1992. So, I wondered if Letterman would step down in 2012, which would have been his 30th year in late night.

The conversation will invariably now turn to the question of who will be Letterman's replacement. Unlike Johnny Carson, Letterman has not had guest hosts who step in when he is gone. With Carson, we were able to see people audition to replace Johnny. Leno and Letterman and many others stepped in for Johnny when he was off so we saw how they would do as hosts. When Leno left, Fallon and Meyers had been lined up in advance to take over the late night NBC shows. They had no talk show experience but they had both worked as Saturday Night Live Weekend Update anchors. I wonder if in his last year, Letterman may have some guest hosts.

I think that these people will be discussed as possible replacements for Letterman.

Conan O'Brien
He really got a raw deal with NBC and he's now with TBS. I'd love to see him get the position since he's a top notch interviewer and he has a comic creativity that few others have.

Jay Leno
This is a long shot since he has already hosted for many years on NBC and he's not a young guy, but I wonder if CBS may consider him anyway. He might want to just stick to his stand up and tinkering with his cars.

Jon Stewart
He is a funny guy, but would he want to leave his deal at Comedy Central where he is already making a lot of money and he is in his element?

Stephen Colbert
He is so good with his Colbert Report, so he would probably be considered by CBS, but I don't know if he would want to do a mass appeal show. Plus he would be himself, not doing a character.

Chelsea Handler
She is leaving her show on E! so CBS might want to go with a female host. She is a good stand up and she has interviewed a lot of people on her show.

Craig Ferguson
Often a network will take the 12:35 am host and put them in at the 11:35 pm slot. His humor is too absurd for 11:35, and I often wonder how he stays on the air, with his same bits every night. Hopefully CBS does not do the thing that NBC did with moving Jimmy Fallon to an hour earlier.

Probably the most likely person would be someone not mentioned here. Someone out of left field may get it. CBS may want a young person to battle the young audience being attracted by Jimmy Fallon and Seth Meyers. When Letterman moved to CBS in 1993, NBC plucked a name out of nowhere to replace him at 12:35, and that was Conan O'Brien. CBS may find a comedy writer or a comedian that none of us would expect.

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