Who’s Not Taking David Letterman’s Job? Cold Water Thrown On Certain Suspects

Neil Patrick Harris Tina Fey The

The list of people who might take David Letterman’s latenight role on CBS seems to be getting smaller.

Neil Patrick Harris didn’t exactly do somersaults Monday when asked if he was interested in the role, even though recent speculation has put the thespian, best known for hosting CBS’ Tony Awards and a long tenure on the Eye’s “How I  Met Your Mother,” on the shortlist of potential candidates.

“I’m super focused on ‘Hedwig’ at the moment, so that hasn’t even been a part of the conversation at all,” said Harris Monday at a press event to lobby for tax incentives for Broadway, mentioning his current role in a revival of “Hedwig and the Angry Inch.” Still, he said,  “But I’m a big fan of CBS and Les’,”  referring to CBS CEO Leslie Moonves.

Wouldn’t hosting a latenight show on a big broadcast network be fun? “It would be an asinine amount of work,” Harris replied.

Elsewhere, NBCUniveral’s top executive attempted to tone down expectations that either Tina Fey or Jay Leno might be interested in getting behind Letterman’s desk.

“I think Tina Fey is very happy with doing TV and film projects for us,” said Steve Burke, NBCU’s chief executive, meeting with reporters Monday. “I could be wrong.” Last August, Fox gave a commitment to a Universal-produced comedy supervised by Fey.

Burke also suggested NBCU would like to extend its relationship with Jay Leno, who recently vacated the network’s “Tonight” seat to make way for Jimmy Fallon. Burke held out hope Leno would be interested in doing periodic specials for NBCUniversal, much in the way Bob Hope once did for the network.

Burke was effusive about Fallon’s performance, citing the host’s ratings among viewers between 18 and 49. “I think people who watch the two shows have increasingly chosen Jimmy” in the time slot, said Burke. “My bet is Jimmy will do just fine” no matter who inherits the CBS seat.

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  1. Roy Milano says:

    My vote would be for Jay Leno. Jay appeals to the 40+ crowd which is where Letterman’s demographics are as well. Having Jay would put CBS in 1st place over NBC and ABC for that 11:30 to 12:30 time slot.

  2. Rock Singer says:

    None of the people mentioned here would stand a chance against the talent of Jimmy Fallon…Think again.

  3. Kenny says:

    I wouldn’t say my money’s on Conan, but my vote is. Conan’s probably doing fine on TBS, but I would welcome a return to network television. Of course, I still wish he was in New York at 12:37am.

    On a separate note, I’d like Craig Ferguson to stay at 12:37am. I like him as he is, as I liked Conan where he was. 12:37 shows are more subversive and laid-back. But folks wanna move up…

  4. Marius Telemacher says:

    I don’t think Conan wants to leave TBS. They may not pay as well as the Broadcast nets but they’ve given him plenty of room to run a few things. (See Conaco.) I don’t know if he wants to trade that for Worldwide Pants (or make Craig Ferguson fly under that flag.)

    Aisha Tyler may have a castle of her own built with CBS (The Talk, Whose Line is It Anyway?) and she is capable of the laughs (“Aisha Tyler is Lit” being worth a watch if you haven’t seen it) but something tells me she doesn’t want that kind of a show if she wants to keep The Talk going (Studio City) and Whose Line (Hollywood Center). Why? Ask Carson Daly how hosting two shows at different timeslots is working out for him: It’s not. NBC is mulling over either replacing him in Last Call, or sinking the show altogether to keep him on Today as the heir apparent to Matt Lauer who may jump ship soon. I don’t know if she’s willing to leave California over it either.

    Jon Stewart/Steven Colbert are possibilities. Current Buzz says CBS is in talks with Colbert, so I’ll leave that one alone. Jon Stewart however, I can’t see doing it, being the Lorne Michaels of Viacom as he watches Daily Show talent go off and propagate elsewhere (Brian Unger, Rob Corddry, Steve Carrell, Kristen Schaal, among others.) Why throw that away?

    Louis C.K. may pass on it. CBS is a fairly conservative network, and his kind of humor may not gel well with their S&P. Cable would be more permissive, and the Late Show could be a raw deal for him.

    Same goes for Chelsea Handler, she said she is ditching Chelsea Lately and is watching developments on the Late Show very intently, but I don’t think her and Craig Ferguson will get along very well. (I think Handler is the only guest that irks Ferguson. And he’s very permissive on his show.) And I think it’s a ploy to get Comcast to cough up more for her next contract.

    My vote? Jane Lynch. She’s riding Glee to it’s exit in 2015, her current show “Hollywood Game Night” isn’t doing so hot, and she has the chops to run the show and do it well. CBS gets their foil star for hiring a woman, and unlike Handler, celebrities would actually look forward to attending it. The question: would she relocate to New York? (Less of a stretch than Aisha: she’s from IL originally.)

    • Umm, Ms. Handler sent Craig Ferguson a $1,000 massage chair after he was on her show and mentioned he liked one in the studio. Watch her LLS guest shot months after that and witness the deep love fest.

    • cadavra says:

      Lynch is actually the first suggestion I’ve seen that kinda makes sense. As long as she stops shouting, she’d be fine, especially with her improv background. As for relocating: Late Show moved to New York to accommodate Dave; Merv, Sajak, et al all worked out of L.A. So there’s no real reason to keep it in NYC, especially with Fallon there now.

  5. David Kelley says:

    On Sunday, Tina Fey posted on Facebook: “Late Show with Fey? No thanks.”

  6. Mark Leon says:

    What an amazing non-story

  7. Les says:

    I agree with Conan, he’s paid his dues and deserves to be back on a big network.

  8. Ken says:

    Conan – one of the hardest working comedians on late night now and sadly lost in cable hell – would be the appropriate replacement in my view (after a shaky start, he turned Dave’s great old show Late Night into a real wacky laff-fest all his own [and Richter helps big time!]). Like Fallon, he’s plugged into social/online media (his website is fun)…and anyone who’s introduced the world to such oddities as The Masturbating Bear and The Human Centipede menorah (sp?) shouldn’t be casually dismissed. Should he move to CBS’s 11:35 p.m. slot, he’ll need to do 2 things: (a) bring that scenic giant full moon with him to The Ed Sullivan Theatre, and (b) beef up that band of his (they are kinda dull – would Shaffer consider carrying on with his inimitable CBS Orchestra under a new host?). Thank you.

  9. rocky-o says:

    nbc screwed conan…now it’s his turn to screw ’em back…LET MY CONAN GO…all the way to ‘the late show’…

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