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David Letterman taking time off

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by AKA, Jun 13, 2003.

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  1. AKA

    AKA 86451103 Thread Starter

    I say good for him. He deserves it after twenty-one straight years.

    Dave's Summer Vacation

    By Josh Grossberg
    E! Online

    Who knew David Letterman was such a slacker?

    The CBS Late Show ringleader, who has in the past eschewed long breaks from his hosting chair, has revealed he plans to take a few extra days off this summer and hand over the reins to a guest host, as he did on Friday when comic Tom Arnold substituted for him.

    Letterman spontaneously announced his decision on his show last week, informing band leader Paul Shaffer that he suffers from "T.A.S."--Lettermanese for "Tired Ass Syndrome"--and decided it was time to get out from behind the desk in Gotham's Ed Sullivan Theater and stop and smell the roses, at least for a little while.

    "I've worked since I was 11 years old," Letterman said. "And I just feel like it's summer now, I'd like to take a day off."

    So how long is this vacation gonna last?

    The gap-toothed comic wouldn't say, but did announce he would be calling on guest hosts Tom Green, Kelsey Grammer and Jimmy Fallon to fill in for the last three Fridays in June.

    Letterman already gets a three-day weekend. Currently, Late Show tapes Friday's segment immediately following Thursday's show, so Dave's early leave will merely give him a break from the grind of prepping two shows in one day.

    The Indiana native is known for being a workaholic during his 20-year tenure headlining his own late night programs on NBC and now CBS--the exceptions being the sick leave he was forced to take after undergoing emergency heart bypass surgery in 2000 and the five weeks he missed after coming down with the shingles earlier this year.

    Letterman pals Whoopi Goldberg, Regis Philbin, and Bruce Willis were among those celeb-guest hosts who stayed up late in his place, helping the show maintain its solid ratings, albeit behind rival Jay Leno's The Tonight Show.

    Earlier this week, a spokesman for the Eye says the network's fine with the funnyman scaling back his summer duties.

    "We were aware he was taking last Friday off," CBS rep Chris Ender told the Associated Press at the time. "We don't know what the situation is for next Friday. But we don't expect it to be a prolonged situation."

    Adds Letterman rep Steve Rubenstein, "Dave's going to make up his mind as he goes along. But Dave's going strong."
  2. Ed Bishop

    Ed Bishop Incredibly, I'm still here

    To which I say, why not? Carson did that for a long time, and nobody bitched. Seems to me Mr. Letterman has earned that extra day off year-round, if he wants it. Plenty of talent to fill in. I had always wondered if why he didn't use guest hosts was a kind of insecurity you see in the modern talk show host that Carson never had. Johnny knew how good he was.

  3. AKA

    AKA 86451103 Thread Starter

    Absolutely, Ed. I think Dave's becoming more comfortable with using guest hosts, and that's great. I wish the other guys would follow his lead, or at least, when they're in reruns, show episodes that are more than a month old, for Chrissakes!

    Besides, Dave knows that's what helped propel him into getting his own show - filling in for Johnny in the late '70s and very early '80s.
  4. JonUrban

    JonUrban SHF Member #497

    I would rather have a guest host than a rerun....................

    Worst Johnny Carson night off - The night Lennon & McCartney stopped by.

    "Joe Garagiola"? I love it in the anthology when they say it was Joe Dimaggio!! :D

    Was this an intentional thing on Johnny's part?
  5. Michael

    Michael I LOVE WIDE S-T-E-R-E-O!

    Carson was one of the best talk show hosts in my book!
    I still miss his show! :thumbsup:
  6. Joel Cairo

    Joel Cairo Media Doctor (& Video Gort) Staff

    Portland, Oregon

    Probably not intentional... John & Paul probably only made themselves available at the last moment, and Johnny was off on an already-planned promotional tour for some side project.

  7. Evan L

    Evan L Beatologist

    I wish Jay Leno's egomania would allow him to do the same thing. The only night he's been absent in 11 years was when he recently did the switcheroo with Katie Couric(who kicked ass, IMO, BTW).

    Dave is and has always been a class act. He wants some time off, he deserves it!
  8. AKA

    AKA 86451103 Thread Starter

    Letterman Ends Friday Summer Breaks

    The Associated Press

    NEW YORK - David Letterman is going back on the air Fridays.

    After a month of the veteran "Late Show" host turning Friday nights over to guest hosts, Jimmy Fallon's stint Friday was going to be the last, spokesman Tom Keaney said.

    Tom Green, Tom Arnold and Kelsey Grammer had also filled in for Letterman.

    "I've worked since I was 11 years old," Letterman, 56, had said on his CBS show. "And I just feel like it's summer now, I'd like to take a day off."

    Oddly, Letterman didn't even get a day off. He usually tapes his Friday shows on Thursday evenings, after taping Thursday's show; so he just left work early during this stretch.

    Although ratings in the summer aren't watched as closely as those during the regular TV season, "Tonight" host Jay Leno's lead over Letterman has increased in the past month.
  9. cunningham

    cunningham Forum Resident

    dallas, tx
    My wife and I were discussing this last night. We wonder if Warren Zevon's decline is affecting Dave as well, they are pretty close. I wonder how Warren is doing, anybody know the latest?
  10. Evan L

    Evan L Beatologist

    I think everybody is pleased and amazed Warren has lasted this long, long enough to see his grandchild born. Excellent.
  11. Dan C

    Dan C Forum Fotographer

    The West
    Letterman losing late-night war

    The latest unfortunate news.

    Personally I think Leno gets the wider audience because of his predictability and easy shots. Letterman, for all of his goofy behavior, produces comedy that's too edgy and clever for most of the mainstream.
    Just one Letterman fan's opinion, of course.

    Dan C


    NEW YORK, June 30 — As he enjoyed some extra time off this summer, David Letterman would have been wise not to ponder the results of CBS’s effort to narrow the ratings gap between him and Jay Leno. The news isn’t particularly good. After ending a flirtation with ABC last year, Letterman wanted CBS to help his show by promoting it more heavily on outlets popular with young viewers and boosting the network’s performance at 10 o’clock each weeknight.

    THE THEORY WAS that if more people watch CBS at that hour, they’ll watch the local news and stay tuned for Letterman’s “Late Show” instead of changing the channel for Leno’s “Tonight” show on NBC.
    (MSNBC is a Microsoft-NBC joint venture.)
    CBS responded. And largely because of the hits “CSI: Miami” and “Without a Trace,” CBS’ viewership at 10 increased by 14 percent during the just-concluded TV season. NBC’s audience dipped by 15 percent.
    Yet Letterman’s viewership dropped this year by 2 percent, and the gap between him and Leno remained virtually unchanged.
    And despite reaching out to younger viewers, Letterman’s audience among the 18-to-49-year-old demographic shrunk even more. Leno’s lead widened from 29 percent to 39 percent, according to Nielsen Media Research.
    The numbers are endlessly frustrating for Letterman staffers, who are justly proud of their five Emmy Awards for best variety series.
    They say they’re pleased with progress made this year; NBC just tries not to gloat too openly.
    “It’s no surprise,” NBC Entertainment President Jeff Zucker said. “America decided this long ago and Jay’s lead is only getting bigger.”

    Rob Burnett, executive producer of the “Late Show,” is convinced more Americans would watch Letterman if there were an even playing field.

    In 59 television markets where the CBS local news beat or equaled NBC’s in the ratings during the May “sweeps,” Letterman outrated Leno in 39 of them, he said. In the 138 markets where NBC’s news was on top, Leno led in 132.
    The failure of “Late Show” to capitalize on CBS’ improved 10 p.m. performance doesn’t mean the theory was wrong, he said.
    It may just take awhile to pan out, since news-watching habits are slow to change, he said. The ratings for CBS’ local news broadcasts improved by 5 percent this year.
    Burnett likened the “Tonight” show advantage to the ratings success NBC had for years with lackluster Thursday comedies lucky enough to follow “Friends” on the schedule.
    “The ‘Tonight’ show is the ‘Veronica’s Closet’ of late night,” he said.
    Zucker said Burnett is “grasping for straws. That’s the argument that they would make because they have no argument.”

    In July 1995, Leno snagged Hugh Grant’s
    first major appearance after Grant’s arrest
    with a prostitute. Ratings more than doubled for that night and Leno has been atop the competition since.

    When they first went head to head, Letterman beat Leno in the ratings. But then numerous changes were made on “Tonight”: replacing bandleader Branford Marsalis with Kevin Eubanks, adding goofy acts like the Dancing Itos, redesigning the set and extending the monologue.
    Then in July 1995, Leno snagged Hugh Grant’s first major appearance after Grant’s arrest with a prostitute. Ratings more than doubled for that night and Leno has been atop the competition since then.
    CBS research chief David Poltrack, who has looked at the late-night audience from all angles, said the “Tonight” show monologue is a powerful tradition that’s hard to fight. NBC’s show is more popular with news viewers while fewer Letterman fans watch the news at night, he said.
    Letterman viewers tend to stay awake longer, for what that’s worth.
    “There are more people who watch the ‘Tonight’ show and go to bed at midnight than watch the ‘Late Show’ and go to bed at midnight,” Poltrack said.
    Burnett said he believed Letterman would get a bigger audience than Leno if Dave were on NBC.
    “You give NBC executives sodium pentothal and ask (if) they’d rather have Dave or Jay on NBC and see what happens,” he said.
    NBC executives, albeit different ones, had exactly that choice 11 years ago. They chose Leno.
    “You know that lie detector test that Rob Burnett wants me to get under?” Zucker said. “I think that same lie detector test would acknowledge that they have a hard time admitting that American made this decision a long time ago.”
    Alan Bell, whose Freedom Communications owns five CBS stations, said it’s clear that Letterman doesn’t have Leno’s broad appeal.
    “He is never going to have the belly laugh appeal of a Jay Leno. But you can have a very successful show and a good business with David Letterman,” Bell said.

    One expert on late-night television, Aaron Barnhart, said that since it’s clear Letterman is never going to beat Leno, he should stop worrying about it.
    Like a politician, Letterman should start framing his legacy, said Barnhart, a Kansas City Star TV critic who once ran a Web site chronicling the late-night competition.
    “This was the late-night voice of our generation, the guy who reinvented late-night TV and took it beyond Carson,” Barnhart said. “We’re really seeing the end of an era and it’s closer than people think.”

    It’s been a tough year for Letterman, 56. He missed several weeks because of a painful case of shingles, the ailment coming three years after his heart surgery.
    Over the past month, Letterman took Fridays off in favor of guest hosts Tom Arnold, Kelsey Grammer, Jimmy Fallon and Tom Green. It was somewhat odd because it didn’t give Letterman an extra day off; his Friday show is usually taped on Thursday. While this was happening, Leno’s lead has widened.
    The experiment ended after Fallon’s show on Friday; Letterman will tape Friday shows for the rest of the summer, a spokesman said.
    CBS had no problem with that decision or the ratings: the show is “very profitable” and lends prestige to CBS, network spokesman Chris Ender said.
    Burnett said that he realized the competition for ratings “is completely out of our hands.”
    “We’ve won five Emmys in a row,” he said. “We’re doing the best show that we can do. That’s all we can control, is to try to keep the show great.”
    © 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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