EXCLUSIVE -- CBS and David Letterman Discussing New Deal
Sides start talks to keep Letterman at CBS after current deal ends in August 2010
By Ben Grossman -- Broadcasting & Cable, 1/29/2009 4:14:32 PM
CBS and David Letterman have begun discussing a new deal to keep the Late Show host on the network beyond 2010, according to sources with knowledge of the early talks.
The two sides are striking up talks as the 11:30 timeslot is about to undergo a sea change with Conan O'Brien taking over The Tonight Show and Jay Leno deciding not to jump to ABC and compete for those viewers.
Both CBS and Letterman could see that as an opportunity for Letterman to pick up some new eyeballs and potentially take over as the top host in late night with Leno out of the picture, as he moves on to start his 10 pm show on NBC.
Letterman is currently working under the terms of a four-year deal announced in 2006 that goes until August of 2010. Letterman's current salary is believed to be well over $30 million per year.
There had been previous questions about Letterman's intent to continue beyond that 2010 date, with The Daily Show star Jon Stewart considered a possible replacement for Letterman if CBS and Letterman decided to part ways. CBS also has another late night asset in 12:30 host Craig Ferguson.
In an interview last year with Rolling Stone magazine, Letterman indicated he may want to sign one more deal.
"The way I feel now, I would like to go beyond 2010, not much beyond, but you know, enough to go beyond. You always like to be able to excuse yourself on your own terms," he said. "If the network is happy with that, great. If they wanna make a change in 2010, you know, I'm fine with that, too."
If Letterman stays, he will be competing with O'Brien and ABC's Nightline at 11:30 on the broadcast networks. ABC's entertainment division has long wanted to supplant Nightline, either with Leno or Jimmy Kimmel, but network execs maintain that is not in the immediate future.
And while Fox would like to jump into the weeknight fight, it has yet to find the right play, a decision which would be even tougher given the challenging economy and the fact that the late night advertising market was showing weakness even prior to the recession firmly taking hold. Fox instead is continuing to just concentrate on Saturday nights for late night, giving Spike Feresten the 11 p.m. time slot formerly occupied by sketch comedy Mad TV
Spokespersons for both CBS and Letterman declined to comment for this story.
See the way it works with the Letterman audience, they think they are part of a sophisticated humor club,that Dave's humor is so cerebral that it takes a while to "get it". Well the fact is that the "Emporer has no clothes".He is the Emporer and they are the crowd.
The guy has not been funny for many years,but has relegated to become a very wealthy liberal who is kept around to take exactly those cheap shots that he took against Limbaugh and O'Reilly. When you can't make good points you revert to "goon" and "tubby".
People like Letterman are cowards; they like to dish it out but they can't take it themselves. If Dave is so hung up on Limbaugh's past problem with oxyconton addiction for his back pain,he is not similarly encumbered with discussing the early cocaine use of his hero Barack Obama.
That kind of bias is fine,just say you are a liberal who does not listen to arguments contrary. No different that some closed minded conservatives.
But Dave,your audience will laugh at the cheapest nastiest shot you give, as long as it is directed at conservatives, not liberals. Too bad you are not funny, just a wealthy elitist.
John Thomas - 4/2/2009 5:16:14 PM EDT
"Late Show with David Letterman" is the Crown Jewel in Late Night Television. While starting his historic 28th season, Dave and company are on a roll. For those of you who do not watch on a regular basis, it is difficult to "get" his humor. The interview with the former Illinois governor, as well as Joaquine Phoenix represent Dave at his very best.
Numerous Emmy Awards and a continual presence in the main stream media have made the man and the show iconoclastic.
Greg Struss - 2/13/2009 10:27:13 AM EST
U. R. Adouche - 1/31/2009 4:53:14 PM EST
I'll tell you all a secret...Craig Ferguson is a treasure. No tired jokes. This guy is funny and
reminds me of Groucho.
Tim Young - 1/31/2009 1:12:09 AM EST
Hey Doug, Paul Schaeffer's 'suck up' is a routine, an ironic commentary on traditional side kicks....
julia Ridgeley - 1/29/2009 9:16:07 PM EST
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