With David Letterman announcing his retirement after 31 years working the tried and true talk show format, the rumour mill has inevitably gone into overdrive as to who exactly will take over his coveted timeslot at CBS and, presumably, the facilities at the hallowed Ed Sullivan Theatre in New York. Whilst in the past, networks such as the NBC have announced successors at roughly the same time as the retirement of the incumbent – though at times things didn’t exactly pan out the way they wanted them to – the situation at CBS is a little unclear. The network hasn’t faced a situation like this in quite some time, owing to Late Night with David Letterman being a new franchise at the time of its debut. So the names that are emerging in contention are a motley crew representing a new breed in television presenters.
Among others, Stephen Colbert is being mentioned as a possible replacement. The current host of Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report working as a right wing character known as Stephen Colbert has the calm demeanour needed for shouldering the responsibilities of a late night network talk show. But the question remains would he be willing to leave The Colbert Report and ditch the character that has served him so well in favour of hosting under his real persona.
Perhaps the more obvious choice is the man who currently follows Letterman in the CBS’ schedule, Craig Ferguson. The man who hosts The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson has a television persona that is far more concerned with deconstructing the talk show genre, with great critical success (his sidekick, for example, is an animatronic robot named Geoff Peterson). However Ferguson’s show has been getting soundly beaten in the ratings by his NBC counterpart, Late Night with Seth Meyers; this despite the fact that Meyers has only been in the chair for two months.
Other interesting names swirling for the soon-to-be-vacant chair include female hosts like Chelsea Handler and Ellen DeGeneres, both experienced hands with the talk show format, and would provide groundbreaking programming for CBS in being the first females to be given a late night network chair.
Whatever the case, the race to fill the sizeable shoes left behind by the legendary Letterman is wide open. In the ensuing months, it seems it’ll only get more interesting before the new host is finally announced.
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