Netflix has ordered six episodes of the hourlong series, to be produced by New York-based RadicalMedia and Letterman’s Worldwide Pants banner. The untitled show is targeted to debut next year.
Netflix’s announcement said the show would feature “in-depth conversations with extraordinary people, and in-the-field segments expressing his curiosity and humor.” It’s understood that production is set to begin in the fall and that some of the interviews may be filmed in front of an audience.
“I feel excited and lucky to be working on this project for Netflix,” Letterman said. “Here’s what I have learned, if you retire to spend more time with your family, check with your family first. Thanks for watching, drive safely.”
Letterman, 70, has mostly been off the screen in the two years since he signed off of CBS’ “The Late Show” in May 2015. He ended a storied 33-year run in late-night TV that began with his 1982-1993 residency on NBC’s “Late Night.” Last year, Letterman toplined a well-received episode of National Geographic Channel’s “Years of Living Dangerously” series in which he traveled to India to examine the real-world impact of climate change.
Letterman’s post-“Late Show” career plans have been the subject of much speculation. The deal with Netflix indicates that Letterman, who now sports a ZZ Top-length beard, will not be staying in full-retirement mode in the same way that his TV mentor Johnny Carson did after bowing out of NBC’s “Tonight Show” in 1992 after 31 years.
For Netflix, a deal with Letterman adds another marquee name to the service, and it adds a newsmagazine-like offering to the streamer’s unscripted roster.
“Just meeting David Letterman was a thrill; imagine how exciting it is for me to announce that we will be working together,” said Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s chief content officer. “David Letterman is a true television icon, and I can’t wait to see him out in the wild, out from behind the desk and interviewing the people he finds most interesting. We’ll have to see if he keeps the beard.”
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