‘Letterman’ spells staff shuffle

Director, cue card guy exit as Brennan gets exec stripes

A handful of personnel changes are in the works at “Late Show With David Letterman.”

“Late Show” director Jerry Foley has left the talker after eight years, while Jude Brennan has been named an executive producer on the show. Then there’s cue card guy Tony Mendez, who has also exited.

Foley leaves “Late Show” having garnered four Emmy nominations and five Directors Guild noms.

“I think eight years of doing the show, the guy deserves a parade, frankly,” said exec producer and Worldwide Pants topper Rob Burnett. “While it’s disappointing, it’s no surprise that he wants to pursue other things. I only have kind words to say about Jerry professionally and personally.”

In the immediate future, Foley is developing a biographical film and looking to help episodic TV. Until a new director is found, first assistant director Randi Grossack is handling those duties.

“David Letterman provided me with my first shot at directing,” Foley said. “All that I accomplish in the future will be a result of that opportunity.”

As for Brennan, she joins Barbara Gaines and Maria Pope as executive producer on “Late Show.” Brennan has actually been with the Letterman camp off and on since he entered latenight more than 20 years ago. She’d most recently been serving as a consulting producer.

“This is, in a way, a formality,” Burnett said. “Jude’s been back with the show for a while. She’s just an enormous talent, as smart as they come. She, along with (Pope and Gaines), are the heart of the show.”

Meanwhile, viewers will no longer see Mendez, nicknamed Big Ink, holding up cue cards or appearing in skits on “Late Show.” Burnett said Mendez left for personal reasons.

“He informed us that he wanted to move on,” Burnett said.

Letterman came back to solid ratings last Monday after missing work for nearly a month due to a case of shingles. Letterman’s return scored the show’s second-highest numbers of the season, and its biggest lead over “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” in three years.

Still, “Tonight Show” has consistently defeated “Late Show” over the years, with the NBC program recently wrapping up its 30th consecutive quarterly latenight ratings victory.

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