David Letterman won’t retire for a year — but CBS is already working to fill his coveted LATE SHOW seat.
Talks are currently underway with Chelsea Handler, according to a report this morning on TheWrap.com.
CBS contacted Handler to discuss the potential of hosting a syndicated show in the wake of her announcing this week that she’s leaving E! when her contract expires at the end of the year. But Handler has told CBS that she isn’t interested in that option. As a result, CBS then expressed interest in considering Handler for Craig Ferguson’s 12:30 a.m. slot.
She will be meeting with CBS Corp.’s chairman and CEO Les Moonves in the next few weeks to continue the discussions of joining CBS’s late-night lineup, the individual said. But, Letterman’s retirement announcement on Thursday has changed the landscape for her. Handler now has her eye on Letterman’s “Late Show” spot instead. Either timeslot would make her the first woman to host a late-night broadcast show since Cynthia Garrett hosted NBC’s “Later” from 2000-2001.
Meanwhile, The New York Post is reporting that Dave’s protege, Craig Ferguson, may already be at the front of the line.
Ferguson — host of THE LATE, LATE SHOW at 12:30 AM — has a clause in his contract with CBS that calls for a $5 million payout if he is passed over for the job.
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Ferguson remains a frontrunner, the paper’s sources say, despite significantly trailing Seth Meyers in his current slot at 12:30 AM.
“Both shows are produced by Letterman’s production company, World Wide Pants. Throwing his weight behind Ferguson would let Letterman’s company keep control of both slots.
But other names being bandied about by insiders include Neil Patrick Harris, whose “How I met Your Mother” series has ended and whose turns as Tony Award host were warmly received.
Harris, now starring in Hedwig and the Angry Inch on Broadway, would give CBS a strong rival to Fallon’s musical and comedic chops, insiders say.
No timetable is set for a decision and it is unlikely a successor will be named any time soon.
Who would you like to see take over for Dave? Sound off in the comments section below.