More than eight years after David Letterman signed off as host of The Late Show, he will return – not as host (this ain’t The Tonight Show!) but as guest. Next Monday, Letterman will take the chair next to current host Stephen Colbert, who took over for the snarky, TV-smashing, near-Ted Striker Letterman in 2015.
During Thursday’s episode of The Late Show, Stephen Colbert announced that David Letterman would make his triumphant return to The Ed Sullivan Theater, which the latter made his home for 23 seasons and more than 4,200 episodes. “I am so happy to say, I will be joined…by a man who is no stranger to The Ed Sullivan Theater, though I know for a fact he’s not been here for eight-and-a-half years. Because my guest will be Mr. David Letterman.”
David Letterman’s last show as The Late Show host was May 20th, 2015 in a tremendous finale that featured former presidents and a Top 10 list with Jerry Seinfeld, Steve Martin, Bill Murray (the show’s first guest ever), and more, as well as a montage-accompanying rendition of “Everlong” by Foo Fighters.
Fortunately for fans of David Letterman, that final episode of The Late Show didn’t mean he would exclusively lock himself in a cabin in Montana. Instead, it’s like he never went away. Most notably, less than three years later, he launched Netflix’s My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman, an interview-forward program that featured guests ranging from Barack Obama and Tina Fey to Malala Yousafzai and Kim Kardashian. It would be nominated for four Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards.
During its run, The Late Show with David Letterman would only win two Primetime Emmys, although its predecessor, Late Night… nabbed four. Colbert – who has been plenty busy elsewhere himself – has yet to win any under his tenure. He does, however, have nine over the course of his time with The Daily Show and The Colbert Report.
Were you a fan of The Late Show under David Letterman? How do you feel late night television compares now to the days of the Letterman/Leno feud?