David Letterman Extends His Contract Through 2015, Past NBC’s ‘Tonight Show’ Transition
CBS announced today that they’ve extended David Letterman’s Late Show contract through 2015. Letterman’s previous contract ran through 2014, but his new contract will keep him behind his CBS desk one year past longtime ratings rival Jay Leno’s (second) retirement from The Tonight Show. Leno’s (second) final Tonight Show is set for February 6th, 2014. Letterman’s Late Show celebrated its 20th anniversary this year. As far as his eventual retirement goes, Letterman told Oprah last year that he and CBS boss Les Moonvess “have an agreement.” He added, “When he wants me to go, all he needs to do is call and say, ‘You know Dave, it’s time to go,’ and I’ll go. I’ll miss doing what I’m doing, but I won’t feel like I’ve left anything on the table. When it’s time to go, somebody else tell me. Because I don’t know when it’s time to go.”
CBS keeping Letterman a little longer could wind up being a smart move for CBS. With Leno gone, Letterman could just take his older audience while new guys Fallon, who starts on The Tonight Show in February, and Kimmel, who just got moved up from midnight to 11:35 this year, fight for younger viewers and split that already-fragmented audience. Craig Ferguson, who hosts the network’s post-Letterman 12:35 slot, is under a contract with CBS that goes through 2014.