David Letterman confirmed Monday night that he was staying with CBS.
He made the announcement during the taping of his first show since returning
from a Caribbean vacation.
He'll make about $31 million per year under the new contract with CBS.
He'll also get some more vacation time and lots of cross-platform promotion
for Late Night with David Letterman across various Viacom Inc. TV, cable
and radio outlets.
For several weeks, he had been negotiating with ABC about possibly jumping
ship and replacing Nightline.
Meanwhile, ABC was quick in trying publicly to repair the damage to its
relationship with Ted Koppel, host of Nightline, which at least one ABC
executive was quoted as saying was 'irrelevant' in trying to justify going after
The statement read: 'At ABC, our ongoing objective is to provide a
top-quality schedule with strong audience appeal. In today's competitive
environment, it is incumbent upon us to explore all programming options, and
The Late Show with David Letterman was an opportunity that ABC felt
compelled to pursue.'
It continued, 'From the outset, we've always said that Ted Koppel and
Nightline would have a significant presence at ABC News. Nightline
will remain in its time period, where it will continue to provide its
distinctive brand of journalism for the network.'
Letterman made the announcement at the beginning of his broadcast in his
It was lengthy one, lasting approximately 15 minutes, and it included references
to the stormy relationship between Letterman and CBS executives.
Two former CBS executives were actually mentioned by
name as what could best be described as good sparring partners: Rod Perth, who
is now president at Moviewatch.com, and Ed Grebow, who is now president of Sony