Late Show with David Letterman
with David Letterman
Title card used during the show's final seasons
designed after the marquee outside of CBS Studio 50 at the time
|Also known as||Late Show (franchise brand)|
|Created by||David Letterman|
Rob Burnett (1993–96)|
Joe Toplyn (1996–98)
Rodney Rothman (1998–2000)
Justin Stangel and Eric Stangel (2000–13)
Matt Roberts (2013–15)
|Presented by||David Letterman|
and the CBS Orchestra (house band)
Bill Wendell (1993–95)|
Alan Kalter (1995–2015)
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||22|
|No. of episodes||4,263|
Robert Morton (1993–96)|
Peter Lassally (1993–96)
Rob Burnett (1996–2015)
Barbara Gaines (2000–15)
Maria Pope (2000–15)
Jude Brennan (2003–15)
Ed Sullivan Theater|
New York, New York
|Running time||62 minutes (with commercials)|
CBS Entertainment Productions (1993–95) (seasons 1–2)
CBS Productions (1995–2006) (seasons 3–14)
CBS Paramount Network Television (2006–09) (seasons 14–17)
CBS Television Studios (2009–15) (seasons 17–22)
480i (4:3 SDTV) (1993–2005)|
1080i (16:9 HDTV) (2005–15)
August 30, 1993 – |
May 20, 2015
The Pat Sajak Show|
CBS Late Night
|Followed by||The Late Show with Stephen Colbert|
The David Letterman Show|
Late Night with David Letterman
Late Show with David Letterman is an American late-night talk show hosted by David Letterman on CBS, the first iteration of the Late Show franchise. The show debuted on August 30, 1993, and was produced by Letterman's production company, Worldwide Pants, and CBS Television Studios. The show's music director and leader of the house band, the CBS Orchestra, was Paul Shaffer. The head writer was Matt Roberts and the announcer was originally Bill Wendell, then Alan Kalter. Of the major U.S. late-night programs, Late Show ranked second in cumulative average viewers over time and third in number of episodes over time. In most U.S. markets the show aired from 11:35 p.m. to 12:37 a.m. Eastern and Pacific Time, and recorded Monday through Wednesdays at 4:30 p.m., and Thursdays at 3:30 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. Eastern Time. The second Thursday episode usually aired on Friday of that week.
In 2002, Late Show with David Letterman was ranked No. 7 on TV Guide's 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time. As host of both Late Night and Late Show for more than 30 years, Letterman surpassed Johnny Carson as the longest running late-night talk show host in 2013. That same year, Late Night and Late Show were ranked at #41 on TV Guide's 60 Best Series of All Time.
In 2014, Letterman announced his retirement and the final episode of Late Show aired on May 20, 2015. After Letterman's final Late Show, instead of airing reruns of the show or having guest host episodes of Late Show, CBS opted to put the show on hiatus in between Letterman and Colbert and instead aired reruns of scripted dramas in the 11:35 pm time slot over the summer with the branding CBS Summer Showcase. The show was then succeeded by The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, hosted by Stephen Colbert, which premiered on September 8, 2015.
- 1 History
- 2 Staff
- 3 Production
- 4 Notable episodes
- 5 Guest hosts
- 6 Awards
- 7 Ratings and revenue
- 8 See also
- 9 References
- 10 External links
CBS had previously attempted late-night talk shows with The Merv Griffin Show (1969–1972) and The Pat Sajak Show (1989–1990), but these were unable to compete with NBC's The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and were canceled due to poor ratings. For most of the 20 years preceding Late Show, CBS's late night fare consisted of movies, reruns and specialty programming packaged under the title CBS Late Night and broadcast to middling ratings. When David Letterman became available following a conflict with NBC, CBS was eager to lure him and offered him a three-year, $14 million per year contract, doubling his Late Night salary. According to their agreement, the show would spend a month in Hollywood at least once a year.
CBS purchased the Ed Sullivan Theater for $4 million, spending "several million" to renovate it. The renovation was supervised by architect James Polshek. CBS' total cost for acquiring the show including renovations, negotiation rights paid to NBC, signing Letterman, announcer Bill Wendell, Shaffer, the writers and the band was over $140 million.
A significant issue regarding Letterman's move to CBS was the ownership of long-running comedy bits used on Late Night, as well as the name of the CBS show itself. NBC claimed that much of what he did on Late Night was intellectual property of the network. Letterman and his attorneys countered that some segments ("Viewer Mail" and "Stupid Pet Tricks," for example) pre-dated Late Night and had first aired on The David Letterman Show, which was owned by Letterman's production company rather than NBC, and others, such as the Top Ten List, were common property and not owned by either Letterman or NBC. Ultimately a compromise was reached in key areas: the "Viewer Mail" segment would be called the "CBS Mailbag"; the actor portraying Larry "Bud" Melman on Late Night would use his real name, Calvert DeForest, on the CBS show; and Paul Shaffer's "World's Most Dangerous Band" would become the "CBS Orchestra".
NBC gave Letterman the choice of at least two options to name his new show, Late Show with David Letterman or Nightly with David Letterman. On this matter CBS executives stepped in, rejecting Nightly in part because of potential confusion with Nightline on ABC. Thus, Late Show with David Letterman quickly became the official title.
After Letterman was introduced on Late Show's very first episode, NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw accompanied him on stage and wished him "reasonably well". As part of a pre-arranged act, Brokaw then proceeded to retrieve a pair of cue cards while stating that "These last two jokes are the intellectual property of NBC!" After he carried them off stage, Letterman responded, "Who would have thought you would ever hear the words 'intellectual property' and 'NBC' in the same sentence?" In his opening monologue, Letterman said "Legally, I can continue to call myself Dave" but joked that he woke up that morning and next to him in bed was the head of a peacock (while the orchestra played the theme from The Godfather).
In ratings, Letterman's Late Show dominated Jay Leno's Tonight Show for its first two years. Leno pulled ahead on July 10, 1995, starting with a Hugh Grant interview, after Grant's much-publicized arrest for picking up a Los Angeles prostitute. Leno also benefited from the lead-in provided by NBC's popular Must See TV prime time programs of the mid-to-late 1990s. Likewise, the CBS network was hindered by a weak prime time lineup, along with several large- and major-market network affiliation switches in late 1994 relating to Fox's acquisition of CBS's National Football League rights, stunting the Late Show just as it was beginning to gain traction.
At times Late Show even came in third in its time slot (behind Nightline, most recently in November 2008), once prompting Letterman to arrange for a Manhattan billboard proudly declaring himself and his show to be No. 3 in Late Night, aping an older, nearby billboard which promoted Leno and The Tonight Show as No. 1. Letterman attempted to respond by making his show more political, aping the approach taken by The Daily Show under Jon Stewart.
On June 1, 2009, Conan O'Brien (who had succeeded Letterman as host of Late Night in 1993) took over as host of The Tonight Show—an event Letterman referenced in his own show's Top Ten List on that night—and Letterman's "feud" with Leno temporarily ceased. In 2008 Letterman told Rolling Stone that he would welcome Leno on his show once Leno's tenure ended. Letterman said on competing with O'Brien, "I still find it hard to believe that Jay won’t be there." The interview was held prior to Leno announcing his return to NBC for The Jay Leno Show. In the second week after Letterman and O'Brien began their opposing broadcasts, viewer ratings for Tonight began to slip and Late Show was poised to beat Tonight for the first time in over ten years, a fact pointed out by Letterman's guests on air (Howard Stern and Julia Roberts). Letterman quickly tried to change the subject in the interviews and tried to avert a new rivalry. In fact, the June 9, 2009 episode of Late Show featuring Roberts rated better than Tonight with a 3.4 household rating nationally to O'Brien's 2.9. The Letterman/Leno feud was revived in the wake of the 2010 Tonight Show conflict, which saw Letterman side with O'Brien. Despite the rivalry, Leno appeared in a Late Show promo with Letterman and Oprah Winfrey which aired on CBS during Super Bowl XLIV; it was Leno and Letterman's first joint appearance since Leno took over the Tonight Show in 1992. The feud between the hosts ended for good on February 6, 2014 with Leno's second and final retirement and Late Night host Jimmy Fallon, who succeeded Conan O'Brien in 2009, becoming the current host of the Tonight Show on February 17, with its subsequent return to New York for the first time since 1972.
On April 3, 2012, CBS reached an agreement with Worldwide Pants and CBS Television Studios to continue the show through 2014. The parties reached another agreement in October 2013 to extend the show an additional year, continuing the series into 2015. Including his 11 years on NBC, Letterman is the longest tenured late-night talk show host, having surpassed Johnny Carson.
On April 10, 2014, one week after Letterman announced that he would retire as host of Late Show in 2015, CBS announced that his successor as the host of the program would be Stephen Colbert, then host of competing late-night series The Colbert Report on Comedy Central.
Director Hal Gurnee and producer Peter Lassally left the show soon after to pursue other interests. Gurnee was replaced by Jerry Foley. Burnett was absent from the day-to-day operations from 2000 to 2004, and was replaced by Barbara Gaines and Maria Pope, both of whom served as executive producers, with Gaines acting as on-air producer. In 2003, producer Jude Brennan was added to the team of executive producers.
Lassally, who had served as an executive producer for Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show, was invited back to Late Show in January 2005 as a guest to discuss the recent death of Carson. Lassally served as executive producer for Worldwide Pants' The Late Late Show from late 1994 to February 2015, encompassing the tenures of hosts Tom Snyder, Craig Kilborn and Craig Ferguson. Lassally also served as Executive Producer of the Tony Mendez Show, an online webcast featuring Late Show's one-time "cue card boy".
Studio and set design
The show was taped at the Ed Sullivan Theater at the corner of Broadway and 53rd Street in midtown Manhattan since its inception. Formerly called CBS Studio 50, it had been home to several TV programs over the years, most notably The Ed Sullivan Show. Letterman made use of the immediate neighborhood surrounding the theater for his show on occasion, closing off the portion of 53rd Street that goes past his studio for various stunts. Nearby merchants gained fame after making frequent appearances on the program, including Rupert Jee, owner of the Hello Deli at 213 W. 53rd St., and Mujibur and Sirajul, Bengali immigrants who worked at a souvenir shop close to the studio.
The stage layout followed the same basic structure Letterman employed on Late Night: the house band appeared on the far left, followed by the performance area and then the interview set.
In May 2015, days before Letterman retired, Seth Stevenson described what it was like to attend a taping of Late Show:
It felt almost regal to enter the Ed Sullivan Theater beneath a lit marquee on 53rd and Broadway instead of through some unmarked, dented metal door on an industrial block of Hell's Kitchen. The theater for Late Show with David Letterman seats 450 people instead of 100, and its rococo balcony offers a glorious vista over the sprawling stage where the Beatles first performed in America. Instead of bathing us in washed-out, piped-in music, or a half-hearted pop quintet, Paul Shaffer and the CBS Orchestra rocked us with a wall of sound, including a horn section that blasted riffs clear to the theater rafters...
It was hard not to sit in that Late Show studio audience and feel—for the first time—indispensable. Letterman puts on a show. He presents fully-rounded entertainment, and he feeds off the energy in the room. This is a big, brassy venue with a live orchestra, instead of a cramped black-box studio with somebody's iPod plugged into ceiling speakers. And Letterman needed us there.
When Letterman was not on vacation (which he took roughly ten weeks per year), he and his crew worked four days per week, taping Friday's show earlier in the week. From October 2001 until May 2004, Friday's show was taped on Thursdays. From 2004 to 2010, Friday's show was taped on Mondays. During this time, the Friday's show's monologue topics, sketches, and other segments were chosen for their lack of topicality, with few if any references to current events or any subject which would run the risk of seeming dated. However, in late 2011 Late Show reverted to the practice of taping the Friday show on Thursdays, helping the Friday shows become more topical and relevant.
This section needs additional citations for verification. (September 2009) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
The show's opening credits featured a series of shots of New York City as the CBS Orchestra performed the Late Show theme (a livelier variation of the more jazzy Late Night theme). The announcer presented the names of that night's guests, as well as Paul Shaffer and the CBS Orchestra, then introduced Letterman. On rare episodes, the show began with a cold open as Letterman, dressed casually, briefly interacted with a celebrity or performed a short sketch backstage before the traditional opening sequence began.
In the last few years, Alan Kalter included himself in the introduction. In addition, Letterman took to dashing across the stage either just before, while, or just after Kalter introduced him. In years prior, Letterman would be greeted by two female models, sometimes in costume. For an extended stretch of episodes, one of the models would be performing with several hula hoops, while the other would be wearing a metal suit and operating a grinding machine against her abdomen, a carry-over from their first appearance on the sketch, "Is This Anything?"
Letterman would then walk out on the show stage to perform his stand-up monologue, which occasionally began with a reference to something an audience member said to him during the pre-show question-and-answer session. The jokes were based on pop culture, current events, and politics. He then introduced one or two video jokes such as a running gag or fake commercial/public service announcement. The monologue was followed by Letterman's introduction of Shaffer and the CBS Orchestra. Beginning in 2009, a commercial break replaced Letterman's trademark 'crossing to the desk', which he had done since the early years. Letterman then chatted with the audience and Shaffer, sometimes relating an anecdote from his personal life, sometimes discussing his anticipation of a particular guest; a running gag may have been featured.
In 2005, after the death of Johnny Carson, it was revealed that Carson had made a habit of sometimes sending jokes to Letterman which Letterman would then incorporate into his monologues. The January 31, 2005, episode of the Late Show, which featured a tribute to Carson, began with a monologue made up entirely of jokes written by Carson since his retirement.
Letterman read the Top Ten List at this point before turning to guest interviews with a celebrity, politician, or other public figure. On most episodes, the first guest stayed on through the commercial break and continued the interview.
Following the first guest was a short segment to bridge two commercial breaks sequentially. In earlier episodes, Letterman would return to his running gag during this break, or retry a failed stunt from earlier in the show. Later episodes included a brief comedy announcement from announcer Alan Kalter while showing the audience cheering.
The final segment consisted of a live musical performance, a comedian performing a stand-up routine, or another guest interview. Musical guests included artists from David Bowie, U2, Neil Young, Coldplay to indie bands like Grizzly Bear, Gorillaz, MENEW, and Vocaloid Hatsune Miku. The CBS Orchestra frequently accompanied musical guests in performing their songs. Episodes occasionally concluded with Letterman recommending viewers stay tuned for Tom Snyder, Craig Kilborn, Craig Ferguson (James Corden in 2015), but usually he simply waved to the camera, saying, "Good night everybody!" In the latter part of the run, the admonishment to watch Craig Ferguson and James Corden was delivered by Alan Kalter, via voiceover.
Late Show had various repeated absurdist segments, including those involving cast members' and audience participation. The show will also take a camera crew into the Hello Deli to show games such as "What's on the iPod?" and "Beat the Clock," or onto 53rd Street or the roof to record various stunts there.
The show began broadcasting in high-definition television (HDTV) on August 29, 2005. About two weeks later, Tim Kennedy, the show's Technical Director, commented on the transition in the show's official newsletter:
The biggest challenge in the HD conversion was to renovate and upgrade our old control room, audio room, videotape room, and edit room while still doing five shows a week. ... This entailed putting a remote production truck on 53rd Street running somewhere in the neighborhood of 50,000 feet of video and audio cable just to tie the truck to the existing technical plant ...
The coolest piece of equipment is our new control room Virtual Wall. We have done away with the conventional monitor for every video source and replaced it with four 70-inch rear projection screens and within those screens we can "virtually" place as many video images as we want, anywhere we want them, and when we want it.
Kennedy and his crew won an Emmy Award for "Outstanding Technical Direction, Camerawork, Video for a Series" during the nearly four-month-long transition to HDTV.
Among the show's highlights:
- The August 30, 1993 premiere, which attracted 23 million viewers, where Bill Murray was the show's first guest, and Billy Joel was the show's first musical act;
- The March 31, 1994 episode featuring Madonna;
- An April 12, 1995 visit from Drew Barrymore during which she "jump[ed] on his desk and flash[ed] her breasts" in a "birthday gift he'll never forget";
- The December 31, 1999 episode, airing in prime-time.
- The episodes airing the week of February 21, 2000, which began with Letterman's return to the air after his quintuple bypass surgery, with Bill Cosby hosting the show of February 22, as the show's first ever substitute host, and Regis Philbin hosting on February 24.
- His return to the airwaves on September 17, 2001 following the September 11 attacks in a show that featured Dan Rather, Regis Philbin, The Boys' Choir of Harlem, and Odetta—it was "hailed by the New York Daily News as 'one of the purest, most honest and important moments in TV history'."
- January 31, 2005 was Letterman's first show after his long-time friend and mentor Johnny Carson had died. His monologue that night consisted entirely of jokes written by Carson. Carson had died on January 23, but Letterman's show was in reruns at the time.
- March 20, 2007: due to illness, Letterman could not host and Adam Sandler took over as guest host.
- January 2, 2008 was the first night the Late Show returned to air after the 2007 WGA strike began. Due to a compromise worked out between Worldwide Pants and WGA, Late Show was allowed to continue with writers on the job until the strike ended in February 2008.
- In 2008, John McCain was originally scheduled to be the guest on the show but cancelled at the last minute, supposedly to deal with the economic crisis. However, it was revealed during the show that while the show was being taped, McCain was actually doing an interview with Katie Couric for CBS News. McCain's last-minute replacement was Keith Olbermann.
- Paul McCartney appeared as a guest on July 15, 2009, in the same theater where The Beatles made their U.S. television debut in 1964. McCartney later performed "Get Back" on top of the theater's marquee, emulating The Beatles' rooftop concert of 1969.
- On October 1, 2009, he revealed that he had been the target of an extortion attempt.
- On October 29, 2012, the show was taped without an audience due to Hurricane Sandy, which prompted the Late Show staff to send the audience home for safety reasons.
- On April 3, 2014, Letterman announced his retirement from the Late Show.
- April 22, 2014, Stephen Colbert makes his first appearance on the Late Show since being unveiled as Letterman's successor.
- On July 21, 2014, the CBS Orchestra did a rousing live performance of "MacArthur Park." Identified on piano was the song's composer, the legendary Jimmy Webb.
- On August 18, 2014, in his first new show since the death of Robin Williams, Letterman paid tribute to the comedian, whom he had known dating back to their days at The Comedy Store in Los Angeles. "I had no idea that the man was in pain, that the man was suffering," Letterman said of Williams, who committed suicide. A montage of clips aired featuring Williams' multiple appearances on the Late Show, as well as an episode of Mork & Mindy in which Letterman was a guest star. The tribute was the week's most watched late night talk show video, receiving over 3.3 million views online.
- The May 20, 2015 series finale, which ran 17 minutes over time and had 13.7 million viewers, was introduced by archival footage of President Gerald Ford and pre-recorded cameos of former Presidents George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and incumbent Barack Obama all saying, "our long national nightmare is over." Ten celebrities participated in the Top Ten List of "Things I've Always Wanted to say to Dave", namely, in order of appearance, Alec Baldwin, Barbara Walters, Steve Martin, Jerry Seinfeld, Jim Carrey, Chris Rock, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Peyton Manning, Tina Fey, and Bill Murray. Letterman thanked his wife Regina and son Harry, both of whom were in the audience, his mother, viewers, the show's staff, and Paul Shaffer and the band, and also wished good luck to his successor, Stephen Colbert. The show included highlights from The David Letterman Show and Late Night with David Letterman as well as the Late Show, featured clips of Letterman's bits with children, a performance by the Foo Fighters playing Letterman's favorite song, "Everlong," and ended with a shot of his son, Harry, skiing.
Most 'Late Show' appearances
The person who appeared the most on the 'Late Show' was media personality Regis Philbin, with 150 total appearances over the show's 22-season run (as of May 20, 2015). Second most appeared person was Jack Hanna with 103, Tony Randall with 70, Marv Albert with 52, and Tom Brokaw 49 appearances.
Darlene Love appeared with a musical number 21 times, specifically performing the song "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" 19 times (18 live plus one video clip) on every year's last episode before Christmas. This continued a tradition that started in 1986 on Letterman's NBC show Late Night with David Letterman, performing the song as Letterman's Christmas finale 28 times across his Late Show... and Late Night.. run. Love's final Christmas appearance was on December 19, 2014, nine days after the official announcement that the show's finale would be in May 2015. Letterman has stated that the annual performance is his favorite part of Christmas. Due to the 2007 Writers Guild of America strike, Love was unable to perform on the Letterman show in 2007; a repeat of her 2006 performance was shown instead. Love was also the musical guest on May 7, 2007, performing "River Deep-Mountain High", while also appearing as a background choral singer on October 15, 2008. Love had a 22nd appearance, appearing as an interview guest on June 12, 2013 to talk about the documentary 20 Feet from Stardom.
In 2000, after Letterman had quintuple bypass surgery, the Late Show Backstage was aired. This featured many celebrities reminiscing about their experiences as guests on his show. Charles Grodin (February 7), Regis Philbin (February 8 & 10), Bandleader Paul Shaffer (February 9 & 11), Drew Barrymore (February 14), David Brenner (February 15), Tom Snyder (February 16 & 17) and Tom Arnold (February 18) were among those who hosted. These interviews were interspersed with past footage. Previously, only reruns without any special introductions had been aired since Letterman's temporary leave from the show began on January 15.
Letterman returned on a limited basis on February 18, in a show which premiered three days later. To help ease the transition, guests hosts were temporarily installed. Bill Cosby (February 22), Kathie Lee Gifford (February 23), David Brenner (February 29), Nathan Lane (March 2), Janeane Garofalo (March 7). filled in on the first week.
In February and March 2003, Letterman missed 14 shows due to shingles. Letterman had the following guests hosts over that time. Bruce Willis (February 26), John McEnroe (February 27), Regis Philbin (February 28), Whoopi Goldberg (March 10), Vince Vaughn (March 11), Elvis Costello (March 12), Will Ferrell (March 13), Megan Mullally (March 14), Brad Garrett (March 17), Tom Dreesen (March 18), Bonnie Hunt (March 19), Paul Shaffer (March 24), Bill Cosby (March 25) and Luke Wilson (March 26).
In June 2003, Letterman had guest hosts on Fridays. They included Tom Arnold (June 6), Tom Green (June 13), Kelsey Grammer (June 20), Jimmy Fallon (June 27). The ratings separating Letterman and Leno increased and Letterman ended this experiment a month after it began.
On March 20, 2007, Dave fell ill less than an hour before the show started, and scheduled guest Adam Sandler took his place. Actor Don Cheadle, Sandler's co-star in the film Reign Over Me, appeared as a guest on a moment's notice.
Late Show with David Letterman was nominated as Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series for 16 seasons in a row, from the 1993–94 season through the 2008–09 season. Including the nominations for its NBC Late Night predecessor, the Letterman cast and crew had been nominated 26 consecutive times in this category.
Late Show with David Letterman won the award six times:
- 1993–94 winner Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series
- 1997–98 winner Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series
- 1998–99 winner Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series
- 1999–00 winner Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series
- 2000–01 winner Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series
- 2001–02 winner Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series
Ratings and revenue
The show's highest rated episode was on February 23, 1994, after the 1994 Winter Olympics (78.8 million) with 15 million viewers. Its second highest rated show aired two days later and had 11.1 million viewers. Both were preceded by the ladies' figure skating competition which had high interest due to the attack on Nancy Kerrigan at the 1994 United States Figure Skating Championships by Tonya Harding's ex-husband, and both women competing in the event.
In February 2013, TV by the Numbers reported Late Show averaged about 3.1 million per show in season-to-date live-plus-seven-day ratings. A year later, average viewership was down to 2.8 million.
In 2009, the show led other late night shows in ad revenue with $271 million. In February 2014, Advertising Age cited Kantar Media and Nielsen in reporting that for January to October 2013, Late Show attracted $179.6 million in advertising for CBS, higher than its seven late-night competitors on NBC, ABC, Comedy Central, and E!. Late Show also had the oldest median audience among those same peers, at 58.9.
The final episode of Late Show with David Letterman on May 20, 2015, was watched by 13.76 million viewers with an audience share of 9.3/24, earning the show its highest ratings since following the 1994 Olympics on February 25, 1994 and the show's highest demo numbers (4.1 in adults 25-54 and 3.1 in adults 18-49) since Oprah Winfrey's first Late Show appearance following the ending of her feud with Letterman on December 1, 2005. In a rarity for a late-night show, it was also the highest-rated program on network television that night, beating out all prime time shows. In Canada, the final episode was watched by 784,000 viewers, 516,000 more viewers than the show's closest competitor.
- The David Letterman Show (NBC, 1980)
- Late Night with David Letterman (NBC, 1982–1993)
- The Late Late Show (CBS program following Late Show, co-produced by Worldwide Pants from January 9, 1995 to March 20, 2015)
- The Late Show with Stephen Colbert (CBS, 2015–present)
- List of late night network TV programs
- "'Late Show with David Letterman'". epguides.
- "'Late Night with David Letterman' / 'Late Show with David Letterman'". Museum of Broadcast Communications.
- Keller, Joel (April 3, 2006). "When the hell does Letterman tape his shows?". TV Squad. Archived from the original on April 5, 2006. Retrieved May 15, 2011.
- "TV Guide Names Top 50 Shows". CBS News. February 11, 2009. Retrieved September 14, 2013.
- Bibel, Sara (October 4, 2013). "David Letterman Extends Agreement to Host 'Late Show With David Letterman' Through 2015". TVbythenumbers. Retrieved January 31, 2014.
- Fretts, Bruce (December 23, 2013). "TV Guide Magazine's 60 Best Series of All Time". TVGuide.com.
- Carter, Bill (December 10, 2014). "David Letterman to Leave the 'Late Show' in May". The New York Times. Retrieved January 11, 2015.
- "Jimmy Fallon and Seth Meyers Beat the ABC and CBS Time-Slot Competition in All Key Measures for the Week of May 25–29". zap2it. June 4, 2015. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
- "'Late Show with Stephen Colbert' Premieres on Tuesday September 8th". Splitsider. January 12, 2015. Retrieved January 12, 2015.
- Harris, Mark (January 29, 1993). "Is Dave Worth It?". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved December 7, 2011.
- Carter, Bill (February 22, 1993). "CBS Buys a Theater To Keep Letterman On New York's Stage". The New York Times. Retrieved February 22, 2014.
- "David Letterman: Keeping Us Up Late". Mancave. April 11, 2011. Archived from the original on February 22, 2014.
- Walker, Jacquie (May 20, 2015). "News 4's close encounters with David Letterman from the 90s". WIVB-TV. Retrieved May 21, 2015.
- Maslin, Janet (August 31, 1993). "Review/Television; New Time, New Place, Same Humor". The New York Times. Retrieved May 15, 2011.
- Kuntz, Tom (September 5, 1993). "AUG. 29–Sept. 4; Mega-Mouths: Jay and Dave Head-to-Head". The New York Times. Retrieved May 15, 2011.
- Finn, Natalie (May 24, 2007). "Tonight Show Turns 15". E! News. Retrieved August 28, 2007.
- "Letterman's Show Losing Its Voice : Television: Bill Wendell's send-off has been less than warm despite his 15-year relationship with the talk-show host". latimes.
- Marchese, David (March 5, 2017). "In Conversation: David Letterman". New York. Retrieved 2017-03-06.
- Stelter, Brian (September 2, 2008). "Letterman Baffled by NBC's replacing of Leno". The New York Times. Retrieved June 10, 2009.
- Fisher, Luchina (June 10, 2009). "Who's Loyal to Leno, O'Brien, and Letterman?". ABC News. Retrieved June 10, 2009.
- Access Hollywood (June 10, 2009). "Roberts Sides with Letterman". MSNBC. Retrieved June 10, 2009.
- "David Letterman: Julia Roberts Helps Him Beat Conan O'Brien for First Time; Denzel Washington, Jonas Brothers Visit Thursday". Orlando Sentinel. June 10, 2009. Archived from the original on June 14, 2009. Retrieved June 10, 2009.
- Ryan, Mike (January 27, 2010). "Why Jay Leno and David Letterman Hate Each Other". PopEater. Retrieved February 2, 2010.
- "CBS Announces New Contract Extensions with Late Night stars David Letterman and Craig Ferguson Through 2015" (Press release). CBS Corporation. April 3, 2012. Retrieved October 19, 2012.
- "Stephen Colbert Next Host of 'The Late Show'". CBS. Retrieved April 10, 2014.
- "Bill Wendell". The New York Times (Obituary).
- Gay, Jason (April 3, 2000). "Stangel Brothers Team Up on Late Show ... Badlands of Battery Park ... Noriega Goes Down". The New York Observer. Retrieved September 15, 2013.
- Finke, Nikki (January 18, 2013). "David Letterman Shakeup In Late Show Head Writers as Stangel Brothers Snag Multi-Year Development Deal". deadline.com. Archived from the original on February 15, 2013. Retrieved February 1, 2013.
The twosome have had an unusually long and successful 14-year run as Letterman's head writers and now will turn a lot of their attention to coming up with TV shows in any format for Worldwide Pants.
- "Jude Brennan". IMDb.[unreliable source?]
- Campbell, Jon (January 18, 2013). "Letterman Shakeup: 'Late Night Show with David Letterman' Changes Up Writers". The Christian Post. Retrieved February 1, 2013.
A huge 'Letterman shakeup' is taking place on the hit CBS talk show. According to reports, writers working on the show are all getting moved around, as widespread changes are being prepared. It has been rumored that long-time writer and producer at the show, Matt Roberts, has been moved to be the new head writer for the show. Up until now the Late Show With David Letterman has had two head writers,...Justin and Eric Stangel, [who] will ...continue to work with the production company Worldwide Pants.
- Guthrie, Marisa (April 25, 2011). "12 Talent Bookers Who Keep New York Talking". Backstage. Retrieved May 15, 2011.
- Stevenson, Seth (May 10, 2015). "YouTube Killed the Studio Audience: What I Learned from Going to Tapings of Every Late-Night Show". Slate. Retrieved May 11, 2015.
- "The Chris Gethard Show rescued the Letterman set".
- "A Dave New World". Entertainment Weekly. March 15, 2002. Retrieved May 15, 2011.
- "Carson Feeds Jokes to Letterman". CBS News. February 11, 2009. Retrieved October 19, 2012.
- "Letterman Pays Special Tribute to Carson". redOrbit. February 1, 2005. Retrieved October 19, 2012.
- "Monday, August 29, 2005". The Late Show Wahoo Gazette. CBS Interactive. August 29, 2005. Retrieved April 23, 2015.
The High-Definition, Wide-Screen broadcasting of the Late Show is exciting for everyone, especially those equipped with the High-Definition, Wide-Screen TV sets.
- "Facts from 25 Years in Late Night". CBS.
- "Letterman Marks a Milestone". CBS News. February 2, 2007. Retrieved September 23, 2009.
- Warren, Ellen; Armour, Terry (February 15, 2000). "No Shortage of Subs When Letterman Returns". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved August 23, 2014.
- "Letterman Delivers Carson's Final Monologue". people.com. 2005-02-01. Retrieved 2015-06-06.
- "Letterman Is Ill, So Guest Takes Over 'Late Show'". The New York Times. March 20, 2007.
- "Paul McCartney Stuns Manhattan With Set on Letterman's Marquee". Rolling Stone. July 16, 2009. Retrieved September 19, 2015.
- "Hurricane Sandy: David Letterman Performs Eerie Monologue to Empty Studio (Video)". The Hollywood Reporter. October 29, 2012. Retrieved October 30, 2012.
- "David Letterman Had the Most Touching Robin Williams Tribute of Them All". The Huffington Post. Retrieved August 19, 2014.
- Kumar, Kruthika (August 22, 2014). "'Late Show with David Letterman' & 'Last Week Tonight with John Oliver' Have the Two Most Viewed Late-Night Clips for August 18–22". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved August 22, 2014.
This week on The Late Show With David Letterman, Letterman paid tribute to Robin Williams, recalling their early days as stand-up comics and their thirty-eight year friendship. This video has received over 3.3 million views, making it this week's most watched late night talk show video.
- "David Letterman's final Late Show: recap here". CBC News. May 21, 2015. Retrieved May 21, 2015.
- "'Late Night with David Letterman:' Stars recite final Top 10 list". New York Daily News. May 20, 2015. Retrieved May 21, 2015.
- "David Letterman's emotional farewell". CNN Money. May 21, 2015. Retrieved May 21, 2015.
- Peavey, April (December 14, 2015). "For Darlene Love, a Christmas without David Letterman?". Public Radio International. Retrieved September 28, 2017.
- Itzkoff, Dave (December 20, 2014). "Darlene Love's Last 'Letterman' Christmas". The New York Times.
- Wolcott, Mike (December 24, 2007). "People: Love Lost for Letterman". Contra Costa Times. Walnut Creek, California. Archived from the original on December 28, 2007.
- "Dave Pals To Cover For Him While He Heals". Daily News. New York. February 5, 2000. Archived from the original on June 11, 2010.
- "Janeane Garofalo". IMDb.[unreliable source?]
- "Gifford to Leave". People. October 21, 1998. Retrieved May 15, 2011.
- Barnhart, Aaron (February 16, 2000). "Guest-Host Concept Will Ease Letterman's Work Load". KansasCity.com. Archived from the original on September 27, 2011. Retrieved September 20, 2015.
- "Letterman Stressed Out with Shingles". PEOPLE.com.
- "David Letterman Ending his Friday Summer Breaks". USA Today. June 27, 2003. Retrieved May 7, 2010.
- "Music-Related TV Listings for March 10–16, 2003". Billboard. March 10, 2003. Retrieved April 8, 2014.
- O'Neil, Tom (July 8, 2010). "Conan O'Brien Ousts Jay Leno and David Letterman from Emmys". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 15, 2011.
- "Late Night TV Ratings For February 4-8, 2013,". zap2it.com. February 14, 2013. Retrieved September 14, 2013.
Season-to-date figures are averages of 'live plus seven day' data except for the two most recent weeks, which are 'live plus same day.')... Season to date/Total viewers...11:35 p.m.-12:35 a.m. ET: NBC "Tonight," 3.6 million viewers, CBS "Late Show," 3.1 million viewers, ABC "Kimmel," 2.8 million viewers**
- Poggi, Jeanine (February 13, 2014). "Why Jimmy Fallon's 'Tonight Show' Can Thrive with Fewer Viewers when Conan's Couldn't". Advertising Age. Retrieved February 14, 2014.
- Steinberg, Brian (March 1, 2010). "Leno's Triumphant Return to Late Night May No Longer Matter". Advertising Age. Retrieved April 5, 2012.
Late Show with David Letterman: $271m; The Tonight Show: $175.9m; Jimmy Kimmel Live:– $138.1m; The Daily Show: $52.4m; The Colbert Report: $41.8m; Chelsea Lately: $40.7m; Lopez Tonight: $9.1m
- David Letterman's farewell episode nabs biggest audience in over 2 decades Business Insider (05/21/2015)
- "Bill Brioux". Twitter.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to The Late Show.|
- Official website
- Late Show with David Letterman on IMDb
- Late Show with David Letterman at TV.com
- Late Show with David Letterman-related interview videos at the Archive of American Television
| Late Show era by host
30 August 1993 – 20 May 2015
The Late Show with Stephen Colbert
Late Night with David Letterman
| David Letterman show
30 August 1993 – 20 May 2015
Years of Living Dangerously