Just how many people will tune in to CBS on the evening of May 20 to witness the end of a chapter American television culture?
The channel’s Late Show is not ending – indeed it will get a fresh lease of life with a new presenter, Stephen Colbert – but on that Wednesday evening David Letterman will enjoy his last night in the host’s chair.
The much-admired Letterman, 67, has occupied the seat for 32 years and during that period has been celebrated for combining decent, genuine humour with similarly genuine interviews with celebrities and newsmakers. The shows have been recorded at the Ed Sullivan Theatre in New York. Prior to hosting the Late Show for CBS, Letterman’s production ran on NBC for ten years.
“David Letterman has given to all of us a remarkable legacy of achievement and creative brilliance that will never be forgotten,” CBS chief Leslie Moonves said in a statement. “It's going to be tough to say goodbye, but I know we will all cherish the shows leading up to Dave's final broadcast in May.”
Colbert, who hosts the popular Comedy Central show The Colbert Report, is set to move into the Ed Sullivan Theatre and take over Letterman’s offices and recording space. It has not yet been announced when the Britain’s last The Colbert Report is to be broadcast.
Industry reports have suggested his first show for CBS might not be broadcast until September, leaving a gap of three months between that show and Letterman’s last. There has been speculation CBS might look to use a stand-in host, as Letterman did when he was recovering from treatment for multiple bypass heart surgery in 2000.
Among those who sat in for Letterman, who announced his intention to stand down in April, were Elvis Costello, John McEnroe, and Vince Vaughn.Reuse content