Chelsea Handler is no longer a part of the CBS late-night conversation, the comic having finished her deft manipulation of the media by announcing, “I would never go to CBS.” ”My mouth? What would they do with me there?” she …
UPDATED THROUGHOUT: CBS just announced that Stephen Colbert will pay a visit to the guy he’s replacing on Late Show With David Letterman a week from today, Tuesday, April 22. No word in re whether the two men will address the “covert assault on traditional American values” that CBS’ succession plans for its late-night franchise represents. That’s how Rush Limbaugh described it when CBS announced last week. Today, however, Limbaugh homed in on the “symbolic symbolism cover” that is Colbert’s Catholicism. “All these leftists, they fall back on their devout Catholicism, but it doesn’t mean anything,” he said, referencing House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Sen. Dick Durbin – and Comedy Central comic Colbert. Limbaugh said he wanted to address the situation “before this gets out of hand — and maybe it already is.”
“If Colbert’s a devout Catholic and has five kids, I suppose that he must believe in traditional marriage, right?” Limbaugh said. “And if he does, then he’s a hateful bigot, according to the current definitions of the left.” (Colbert has three children, at last report.)
UPDATED WITH VIDEO: “As you can imagine, it’s been a wild day around here. You may remember a few years back there was a gentleman on this program by the name of Stephen Colbert,” Jon Stewart said tonight at the top of his Comedy Central program The Daily Show, addressing CBS‘ hire of Colbert to replace David Letterman on Late Show. (Video below)
Wild cheering from the studio audience.
“He was yea high, skin like porcelain, very talented actor, writer, dancer, improvisational comedian. We would send him to the field, usually with some type of fruit, and see where the day took us.”
Related: CBS’ Late-Night Drama Not Over Yet
UPDATED WITH VIDEO: “I know we’ve got a big show to do tonight, but one thing before we get started,” Stephen Colbert said at the top of his Comedy Central show The Colbert Report, hours after CBS announced Colbert would replace David Letterman as host of Late Show (Video below).
“There was some big news last week that slipped through my news crack, and it concerns someone I’ve admired for years and yet, surprisingly, is not me. I’m talking about David Letterman who, last Thursday night, announced his retirement. And I am going to miss this good man,” Colbert said.
Today’s news that Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report would end its run at the end of the calendar year and Stephen Colbert would retire the faux conservative TV personality he’s previously described as a “well-intentioned, poorly informed, high-status idiot” was sad for the conservative TV and radio talking heads who have counted on Colbert over the years to regularly provide them with conversational lighter fluid.
“I won’t be doing the new show in character, so we’ll all get to find out how much of him was me. looking forward to it.,” Colbert said in a statement after CBS announced it had hired Colbert to take over Late Show when David Letterman retires some time in 2015.
On the bright side, it gave one of those pundits something to talk about today. Rush Limbaugh announced today on his syndicated radio show that CBS has “declared war on the heartland of America” by hiring Colbert. (Watch his rant below.)
Related: CBS’ Late-Night Drama Not Over Yet
UPDATED WITH NEW DETAILS: A week after David Letterman announced his retirement, CBS has named his successor. Stephen Colbert has inked a five-year deal to take over Late Show, a move that is effective as soon as Letterman officially steps aside from the late-night show he has headlined since its launch on CBS in 1993. CBS will own Late Show With Stephen Colbert, unlike Late Show With David Letterman, which is owned by Letterman’s Worldwide Pants. CBS Corp Chairman Leslie Moonves said no dates have been set and reiterated that Letterman’s last day is the host’s to choose. Colbert is host of Comedy Central‘s faux-news show The Colbert Report, which airs in the east at the same time as Late Show, 11:30 PM. Colbert had been on the radar of top CBS brass for awhile and was Moonves’s top choice. Colbert too had had an eye on the job for a long time, synching up his Comedy Central contracts with Letterman’s. His current one is coming up at the end of this year, making him available for the Late Show host transition, slated for sometime in 2015. “Stephen Colbert is one of the most inventive and respected forces on television,” said Moonves in today’s announcement. “David Letterman’s legacy and accomplishments are an incredible source of pride for all of us here, and today’s announcement speaks to our commitment of upholding what he established for CBS in late night.”
CBS is understandably over the moon that it’s landed Stephen Colbert as its new late-night star. With Colbert as its date, the network so long treated by the media as a dinosaur, an afterthought or a curiosity (as in, “Golly gosh, can you believe how many people watch NCIS?”) has, overnight become the hottest girl at the whole damned dance.
Colbert will retire his Comedy Central conservative windbag character — who he has previously described as a “well-intentioned, poorly informed, high-status idiot” — and become Actual Stephen Colbert when he takes over as host of Late Show With Stephen Colbert. It’s devastating news for Bill O’Reilly and other conservative TV and radio talking heads who counted on Colbert for material about which to fume and foment. The character looms so large in the talk-show world that Colbert today felt compelled to issue a statement about Faux Colbert’s coming demise, saying: “I won’t be doing the new show in character, so we’ll all get to find out how much of him was me. I’m looking forward to it.” CBS Corp chairman Leslie Moonves said it’s unclear how the CBS late-night show will be configured with Colbert as host; in an interview with Deadline today, he expressed no concern about the fictitious character his new star has been playing on the comedy network since 2005.
Asked when would be David Letterman‘s last day as Late Show host and Colbert’s first day, Moonves said no decision had been made and reiterated that the end date was Dave’s to decide.
CBS’ announcement today that Comedy Central rock star Stephen Colbert would replace David Letterman as host of its late-night show in 2015 caps a whirlwind week in which the network jumped from being just a little footnote in the coverage of The Battle Of The Two Jimmys to the undisputed star of the late-night drama. But don’t get out of your seats yet – the drama’s not over. CBS execs are thought to be frustrated with Craig Ferguson’s show that follows Dave’s (it is co-produced by CBS and Letterman’s Worldwide Pants, which will depart as Late Show producer when its boss retires.) Ferguson’s numbers have not broadened out as CBS had hoped, and there are rumblings that CBS isn’t done yet and we should expect another move to come. On the bright side, Ferguson will now benefit from the lucrative (reportedly in the neighborhood of $5M) succession clause in his contract, CBS having made its other choice.
Asked about Ferguson’s future at the network, CBS chief Leslie Moonves today acknowledged Ferguson’s contract is up soon, adding, “we’re having conversations” and “there is nothing to report now.”
Moonves being a confirmed showman, his network went into information lock-down the instant Letterman announced his retirement last Thursday. Since then, until this morning’s Colbert news, network execs approached by reporters with succession questions took on the cautious reserve usually seen in better breeds of canines when offered a piece of green leafy vegetable by a stranger of whose bona fides they are not convinced. The reporters, who had flung themselves at their computers and pounded out their Dave Is Leaving copy in an ecstasy of Era-Ending Grief, tore through the list of supposed candidates, most of whom were dismissable:
* Leno, who went out on top in the late-night ratings — a storyline worth sticking with.
* Chelsea Handler, who had a jump-start over the others, having already begun her E! Is a Sad, Sad Place To Live Tour in search of a new late-night job, but who is one of those tough modern female comics, with their sardonic eyes and their freedom of speech and breadth of vocabulary, which made her a lousy fit for Moonves, who is passionate about legacy and prestige.
* Neil Patrick Harris, consummate song-and-dance man and a longtime player at The Les Moonves Repertoire Theatre, who, though a much better fit than, say Handler, took himself out of the running when he said late-night would be an insane amount of work, and he hadn’t actually been approached.
* Tina Fey, a member of The Lorne Michaels Repertory Theatre, who would have had to competing against Michaels’ exec produced The Tonight Show, now hosted by her former SNL Weekend Update partner Jimmy Fallon.
* Louis C.K., who only made the list because, on his FX comedy, he once played a version of himself who was in line to replace Letterman, and the media loves art-imitates-life gags.
* Jimmy Kimmel, who only made the list because he told TV Guide last month, “I’d definitely consider it,” when asked if he’d go to CBS to replace Dave, adding, “I am loyal to ABC and grateful to them for giving me a shot… I’m not looking to flee. But just getting a call from Dave would be big for me. So it’s definitely something I would listen to.”
Jimmy Fallon got Lindsay Lohan first — but David Letterman got her best when he turned her visit to his CBS late-night program into a sparring match with Oprah Winfrey, aka Lohan’s life coach/reality-series producer. In the segment taped today for tonight’s show (see the clip below), Lohan is the one who first said, “Should we call Oprah?” while she and Dave were talking. As befits the importance of the occasion — Lohan’s OWN ratings are taking a tumble, with most recently episode scoring only 390,000 viewers — the child-star-turned-adult-actress-train-wreck is dressed as a bedazzled baby-grand piano. Dave responds, grumpily, “No, we’re not.” This back and forth continued for a while — Lohan staunchly pro-Oprah-calling, Dave steadfastly anti-Oprah-calling, until the call is finally made. Raise your hand if you too thought all along that would be the outcome.
Dave starts off strong, throwing Oprah off by using another voice. “Who is this?” she asks dubiously, growing even frostier when he says he’s Lohan’s assistant — presumably because Oprah doesn’t take calls from assistants. “It’s Dave, Oprah,” Letterman cackles. “Oh my God – Very good, Dave!” Winfrey says, graciously conceding the point, adding, “The David Letterman who’s retiring?”
They prattle on merrily for a brief while; Dave asks Oprah how she thinks Lohan is doing now that she has completed the latest rehab stint at the heart of her OWN reality series. “I think she’s doing OK, what do you think?” Oprah says, noncommittally, not wanting to give away the ending of the series by pronouncing Lohan healed. “I loved her since she was 6 years old, Letterman responds, only slightly creepily.
EXCLUSIVE: Will Les Moonves have to install a party line? One day after getting a call from NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio urging the CBS boss to keep Late Show in the City That Never Sleeps after David Letterman steps down next year, I’ve learned that Moonves got a call today from LA Mayor Eric Garcetti and Film Czar Ken Ziffren imploring him to bring the late-night franchise to the West Coast. The three spoke this afternoon, I’m told.
Of course, this isn’t the first time Garcetti has tried to persuade Moonves to put the City of Angels in his late-night future. On the day Letterman announced that he would be retiring in 2015, the SAG-AFTRA card-carrying mayor wrote to the CBS chief on the matter of Letterman’s successor and where that show would be located. “I am excited for the opportunity to encourage you to bring CBS’ next late-night show to our city — the entertainment capital of the world,” Garcetti wrote to Moonves on April 3.
UPDATE, 11:25 AM: Forget the letter-writing campaign of Los Angeles’ mayor. The mayor of New York picked up the phone and directly asked CBS boss Les Moonves to keep the Late Show in the Big Apple after David Letterman retires next year. “I had a very good conversation yesterday with the man who will actually make that decision, Les Moonves, and I emphasized that New York has been an extraordinary home for the Late Show and that we think it’ll be a great home for the Late Show going forward,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio today during a press conference. “Obviously, David Letterman made rich use of his surrounding environment of New York City, and I hope that his successor will do the same.”
The same day Letterman announced he would be leaving Late Show sometime in 2015, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti wrote to the CBS boss urging him to move Letterman’s successor out to the West Coast. Burbank lost The Tonight Show back to NYC after 40 years when Jimmy Fallon took over hosting earlier this year, and L.A. is currently home to late-night’s Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Conan O’Brien’s talk show on TBS, Arsenio Hall, and Letterman’s lead-out Craig Ferguson. On Friday, New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito also wrote to Moonves about making sure Late Show post-Letterman stayed in New York. With de Blasio now weighing in, is it only a matter of time until this becomes a Governor-to-Governor thing? NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo has already made his stand doing the Top 10 list on April 4.
David Letterman Ends An Era, Announcing He Will Retire In 2015
By Lisa De Moraes
CBS late-night star David Letterman surprised his studio audience this afternoon when he announced he is retiring in 2015.
Watch David Letterman’s Full Announcement Of His Retirement
By Lisa De Moraes
David Letterman stunned his Late Show studio audience today when he abruptly announced that he will retire next year. He began by telling the studio crowd he will be celebrating his 67th birthday in about a week (April 12), at which time, he said, he will have spent about half his life “behind this desk” and “in makeup.”
Fox Eyes Reality Show About Struggling Couples Who Switch Partners For Weekend
By Nellie Andreeva
EXCLUSIVE: Is Fox heading back to Temptation Island?
‘How I Met Your Mother’ Fans To Get Their Happy Ending? Series’ DVD Set To Include Alternate Ending To Series Finale
By Nellie Andreeva
EXCLUSIVE: Four days after the How I Met Your Mother series finale, fans of the show are still reeling from the controversial ending that saw the mother die, Robin and Barney divorce and Ted end up with Robin, leaving viewers stunned.
“I love that guy,” Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon effused tonight of David Letterman — one night after Letterman announced he would retire next year. “It’s hard to imagine late-night TV without him, ’cause he revolutionized it. He made it what it is today. And, after I heard the news, I kind of started thinking about reasons why Letterman is retiring. … If you want, I could just read my Top 10.” Here’s the clip:
New York’s Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who came under fire for that hefty tax incentive the state gave NBC to bring the Tonight show back to Manhattan — handing over free money to NBC-parent Comcast, critics called it — this morning issued an official:
GOVERNOR CUOMO’S TOP TEN LIST OF REASONS WHY DAVID LETTERMAN IS A NEW YORK LEGEND
9. He has made more than 4,500 top ten lists.
8. He continued the Ed Sullivan Theatre’s legacy as a true New York icon by taping more than 4,000 shows at this world-renowned landmark.
7. He helped New York heal by being the first late night talk show host to come back on the air after September 11, 2001.
6. He contributed to keeping New Yorkers working by giving Paul Shaffer a steady job.