Letterman retiring in two years?

Talking with Howard Stern tonight, Dave Letterman casually said he’ll probably leave his show in two years. It seemed from the way he talked as if his contract would up then and that he wouldn’t try to renew it. AFAIK, he hasn’t said anything publicly about this recently.

A quick Google search turned up this, a 2008 report that quoted him saying that “The way I feel now, I would like to go beyond 2010, not much beyond, but you know, enough to go beyond.”

Feb. 1, 2012, will mark his 30th anniversary doing a late night show, and at that point he will have been doing a late night show about four months longer than Johnny Carson did the Tonight Show (October 1, 1962 – May 22, 1992), two months longer if you don’t count the two-month break in 1993 between NBC and CBS.

He’s already beaten Johnny in the number of shows: over 5,300 (1,800 on NBC, more than 3,500 on CBS) compared to Johnny’s 4,531. And unlike Johnny, who turned over a large percentage of them to guest hosts (including Letterman) in his later years, Dave has hosted all but a handful himself. His only break was after his heart bypass operation in 2000, when several guest hosts subbed for him for a few weeks.

I’ve been a fan practically since the beginning, and although I admit he’s no longer quite as wild as he was in the 1980s and '90s, it’ll be weird not to end the day with him.

and Jay Leno is leaving in 2010

He also had guest hosts when he got the shingles, didn’t he?

Please let Craig Ferguson have his time slot, please, please, please!

Craig has said he doesn’t want an earlier slot. He likes not having the weight of responsibility and the freedom to be slightly edgier.

I like Letterman well enough that I’ll watch sometimes, I refuse to watch Leno and Conan’s wave seems to have crested. The tradition of the “Tonight Show” should die when Letterman goes, it’s all been downhill since Carson left anyway.

Has he already banged all the interns?

Good. That’s a better fit for him and I hope he keeps doing the show he wants to do.

Maybe CBS could lure that tall, pale, red-headed O’Brien (O’Brian?) fellow from TBS to do the 11:35 pm show.

But the lateness of his show only contributes to my insomnia. Maybe they could have something shorter on just before and move him up about half an hour?

Unless TBS is dumb he probably has a contract that is very hard to get out of.

God forbid! Although Dave has gotten tamer over the years, I’ve never found Conan the least bit funny.

I think Craig Ferguson is great, almost as wild as Dave was in the early days, but I do wonder how he’d fit in the earlier slot. The suits at the network probably couldn’t deal with him.

You mean the guy who couldn’t beat Letterman in the ratings and would be directly competing with the guy who’s currently beating Letterman’s ratings?

If NBC were responsible for choosing CBS’s late night hosts, I could see this happening.

The time is clearly right for an Arsenio Hall revival.

Hmm. I have an idea who could take over for Letterman…

Chevy Chase or Magic Johnson might make good hosts…

I was thinking Pat Sajak.

Larry King needs a new job

There are quite a few talk shows on now, I’d like to see the slot go in another direction. A music show for example.

It’s been tried several times and has never succeeded but maybe this time it will take. I’m think of something with a series of musician’s hosting for a month at a time. Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Dolly Parton, Bruce Springsteen, Robert Plant, John Prine, Cher, Elton John, Lyle Lovett. Structure it like Dylan’s radio shows where they clue you in to their influences and the knowledge of musical history that they’ve gained.

Four to six songs per show. Mix Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert with some of the documentary ideas of VH1. Have some favorite artists on that may not get a lot of exposure, new artists covering old songs as well as their latest hit.

I think Craig Ferguson’s show is terrific, though I rarely watch TV at that hour any more. Historically, the 12:30 talk show hosts have not fared well at an earlier hour and I wouldn’t want to water down what Ferguson has going. Letterman was never as good at 11:30 as he was at 12:30 and rarely beat the Tonight Show in the ratings.

I’d like to see Letterman take Andy Rooney’s job when he retires from 60 minutes. It’s too bad that Tom Brokaw still has obligations to NBC because they make a great pair and would be both interesting and witty in 15 minute segments exploring various topics.

Shortening your post, much of which I agree with. I remember Dave’s guest hosts when he was out sick, and musical or non-musical, would it be so awful if there was a talk show with rotating hosts? The more intelligent and articulate musicians, but also actors and news people - Alec Baldwin, Anderson Cooper, Jerry Seinfeld? I love to hear Tom Brokaw whenever he’s on. MUST there be one ‘King of The Hill’ on every late night talk show?