David Letterman’s surprise announcement Thursday (April 3) that he plans to retire from late-night TV next year will no doubt spawn an endless stream of speculation about who might replace him as host of “The Late Show.”
You’re also likely to hear a handful of names mentioned as possible successors way more than any others: Craig Ferguson, who currently follows Dave on “The Late Late Show”; Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert; Letterman pal (and occasional rumored replacement) Jerry Seinfeld. Likely suspects are likely for a reason, and CBS could well turn the “Late Show” reins over to one of them in a year’s time.
The late-night game, though, is awfully monochromatic. Chelsea Handler’s impending departure from E! means the roster of late-night hosts will once again be all male, and Arsenio Hall is the only person of color currently with a late-night show. Zap2it tried to keep that in mind in coming up with this list of 10 other possible replacements for Letterman. For your consideration:
In a fictional world, Rock has already been up for the “Late Show” job: as part of a story arc in Season 3 of “Louie.” In real like, though, it would be great fun to see what the acerbic, opinionated Rock would do with Letterman’s seat. And speaking of that “Louie” arc …
His fictional self realized what a grind hosting a nightly show would be, even as he discovered how badly he wanted it. The real-life C.K. has written for both “The Chris Rock Show” on HBO and “Late Night with Conan O’Brien,” but he’d likely have to give up the large amounts of creative control he has in his current job.
She has a good amount of late-night experience, and she’s about to become a free agent. Did Handler know something the rest of us didn’t when she announced the end of her E! show?
She’s already part of the CBS family as a co-host of “The Talk,” and she knows her way around a joke. She’s also fiercely smart and would potentially be fascinating to watch in interview segments.
Tina Fey and/or Amy Poehler
Both currently have long-term deals at NBC, so the likelihood of them jumping networks to take the “Late Show” gig is probably close to zero. But we can daydream.
He hosts approximately 67 other shows now, so why not this one too? Bonus: He could open up a whole new vein of after-shows for the network — “Talking Bang.” “Talking Good.” “Talking Tribal.” “Talking Men.”
People would presumably continue to love Ellen as much in late-night as they do in the afternoons. A not-small sticking point: Her current daytime contract runs through 2017.
The “Girls” creator and star has already tweeted that she hopes CBS takes the chance to diversify the late-night roster (and, for what it’s worth, nominated “Parks and Recreation” star Retta). How about a generational shift too?
From “Sports Night” to late night? Something about Charles gives the impression he might be able to pull it off. His return to the network could also placate — or further wound — still-hurting “Good Wife” fans.
Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele
The Comedy Central breakout stars are funny as hell, but also very sharp observers of pop culture. Plus, endless comedy potential if they book Liam Neeson as a guest.
Leguizamo has never given any indication that he’d be interested in a late-night gig, but man, would it be interesting to see what he would do with it.