Replacing David Letterman


In 2015, David Letterman retire as host of The Late Show.  Predictably, it was mere moments after the late night veteran made the announcement on Thursday that speculation began regarding who would follow in his footsteps.

Last year, when a replacement for Jimmy Fallon was being discussed, I wrote about who I’d like to see in the time slot.  Today, I revisit that list – as four celebrities I mentioned then are also those I’d dream about watching at 11:35 eastern on CBS – and add one more who’s name I’d be torn to see on the marquee.

Dave Chappelle

Truth: TV is better when Dave Chappelle is involved.

Another truth: Chappelle was struck down in his prime.  Sure, the whole freak-out/trip to Africa thing that did the striking down was of his own doing, but The Chappelle Show was TV gold, and it’s a travesty of the highest order that we were only given two seasons.  I don’t know how Chappelle would fair interviewing guests, but give me a few minutes of standup every weeknight, a skit or two a week, and Charlie Murphy as a band leader and you’ve got my eyes.  Can Charlie Murphy lead a band?  I don’t know.  But I’d like to find out.

Tina Fey

I’m only 25-years old, so I’m not going to say that Tina Fey is the greatest female comedian of all time, but she is, without a doubt, the best of my generation.  From random SNL comedian to head writer of the legendary sketch comedy show, to sitcom creator/writer/lead, to movie star, Fey has been brilliant at whatever she’s attempted.  Talk show host is one of the only frontiers she’s yet to explore, but there’s little doubt in my mind she’d conquer it as she did everything else.   She’d be classically, brilliantly funny with just enough dirtiness to make her worthy of late night.

Louis C.K.

A Louis C.K. late night show would be like none you’ve ever seen.  No suit and tie. No cliche jokes about some politician’s mispronunciation.  No publicist-scripted interviews.  Just an hour a night of vicious self-loathing.  Of bitter, angry diatribes about societies dumbest people/problems.  And of the occasional contemptuous interview that leaves a random celebrity in tears – equal parts shocking, harsh and hilarious.  Admittedly, it could never work long term.  In fact, it’s a near certainty that it would crash and burn in spectacularly volatile fashion.  But every second of it, from the brief moments of smooth sailing through to the eventual catastrophic shipwreck at its end, would be awe-inspiring television.

Stephen Colbert

The water cooler is already abuzz with rumors that the Comedy Central host is at the top of CBS’s wish list – a fact about which I’m torn.  It’s easy to see why the network would want Colbert; he’s the best of both worlds – a brilliant comedian, and perhaps a better interviewer.  He’d be a sublime choice who would, no doubt, draw me to the television.  I’d go, though, with a sense of sadness.  Colbert (pronounced as spelled) is perfect as Colbaire.  Perfect.  To see him in another role, even one in which he’d shine, would be unfortunate to me.  So yes, he’d be a dream on CBS, but he’s the dream on Comedy Central.

Seth MacFarlane

Hide the women, hide the children, hope the FCC has gone to bed, and let the wildly inappropriate magic happen.  Tina Fey would be classically, brilliantly funny with a touch of the taboo?  MacFarlane would be crudely, obscenely hilarious.  Yes, his interviewing capabilities are an unknown, but does anyone really think that he’s not smart enough to figure out how to talk to Glen Close on camera?  The quick wit, the intelligence, the good looks, the creativity, the limited but certainly good enough stand-up ability, the propensity for pushing the envelope.  To me, that all says, “best late night host in the game.”  Maybe not at first, but eventually.  100% rude.  100% crass.  100% must watch TV.


Author: Joseph White

Joe Bianchino is a writer, producer, and radio host located in upstate New York. He is a life-long New York sport fan, Chelsea supporter, and Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon enthusiast. Follow him on Twitter @JoeBNTS. Email him at