A little over a year after he told Tom Brokaw “he couldn’t care less about late night TV,” David Letterman is set to return to television with a new Netflix talk show series.
The legendary late-night host had little to say on the matter in a press release but hinted in a humorous light the reason for his coming out of retirement.
“I feel excited and lucky to be working on this project for Netflix,” Letterman, 70, said in the release. “Here’s what I have learned: If you retire to spend more time with your family, check with your family first. Thanks for watching, drive safely.”
In a separate release, Netflix announced that the show, set to come out in 2018, would be a six-part miniseries that includes “in-depth conversations with extraordinary people” of the talk show mold in which Letterman is familiar, as well as “in-the-field segments.”
Netflix’s chief content officer, Ted Sarandos, said in a release that he couldn’t “wait to see [Letterman] out in the wild, out from behind the desk and interviewing the people he finds most interesting.”
“We’ll have to see if he keeps the beard,” Sarandos quipped, referring to Letterman’s monster beard that only a man forced to shave his entire life would grow.
It didn’t take long for Letterman to back track on the sentiment reflected in last year’s interview with Brokaw, where he said “he couldn’t care less” for his profession any longer and encouraged the hiring of more women.
“I’m happy for the guys — the men and the women. There should be more women,” Letterman said of the late-night landscape. “And I don’t know why they didn’t give my show to a woman. That would have been fine.”
Jason Zinoman, a New York Times columnist and author of “Letterman: The Last Giant of Late Night,” noted that Letterman’s strengths, as a personality, were meant for the current era of media consumption.
“It makes sense to me, considering that one of the strengths of late-era ‘Late Show’ was [the] long-form conversation, which Letterman is good at and seemed to really enjoy doing,” Zinoman said. “In the age of podcasts and Netflix, the old excuses for why you can’t have long conversations that are funny but also serious are gone.
“You can do whatever you want.”
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