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Discussion in 'TV Shows' started by Michael_K_Sr, Apr 3, 2014.
Announced during a taping of tonight's show...
David Letterman Set to Retire in 2015
In my opinion Dave went from being the most innovative guy on TV(in the 1980s) since Steve Allen to a point where he has just been phoning it in over the past several years.
He has pretty much morphed into the cranky old neighbor who doesn't want my ball to come into his yard any more.
I still miss Johnny and keep spot-checking the youngsters to see if any of them are real up-and-comers.
I stopped watching the week he told the same joke 5 nights in a row. I suppose that it worked for the live audience but not for the home viewer.
Haven't watched his show in a decade, if not 2 decades.
I guess I will be on the other side as someone who loves Dave. The thing about Dave's show that has always worked for me is that his interviews aren't easy puff pieces that just give a celebrity a free pass on anything. Dave asks real questions and treats the interview portion of his program far more seriously with better research than any of his peers. And it's not even close.
When I would watch Jay interview someone it was like a long segment of an infomercial... quick talking points and nothing. Dave will ask the follow up questions that others don't. He doesn't look for easy interviews. Some of Dave's best work was in interviews with other news media.. Letterman didn't mind mixing it up with Bill O'Reilly and political figures. He didn't just say: I'm giving you a soapbox.
When celebrities came on, Dave didn't play the game. Paris Hilton sat through an interview that I still think of as absolute TV Gold, where Letterman asks her the questions that a big part of the audience really wanted.
When Dave is at his best he is a confrontational news maker who values a real interviews over just junky puff pieces. Dave also gets plusses because he has for a long time provided a platform for standups and musical acts that aren't the headline grabbing 'megastars'.
I'll miss Dave. Good luck to him. I'm interested to see who comes in and takes that gig. I have a suggestion for CBS.. but they probably wouldn't take it: John Stewart's contract ends at the end of the year.. throw money like crazy at him. Just rename it so it's not swiping the Daily Show but basically keep the format.
On the old 80's NBC show, Jay Leno was a regular guest on Letterman, since they both had the same style of "found humor". (Jay would pick things out of a TV Guide, Dave would heckle strange old LP records or odd grocery items.)They stopped speaking after the well-known Late Shift Wars, and both seemed to lose their old sense of humor.
Worse yet, Dave's cranky CBS delivery has gotten me to the point that I'm realizing he was just as much of a sour bully back in his NBC days, just that he had a better director to make it look innovative. (Hal Gurnee, who had also turned Jack Paar into a mischievous late-nite rule-breaker.)
I remember when Jay used to do guest spots on Late Night. It was fun stuff.
I think Letterman either made his decision after seeing Leno retire, or had intended to wait until Leno had stepped away before he made his own exit. Counting the time going back to Late Night, he's been on for 32 years already. (I'm not counting his first attempt in 1980)
It was bound to happen as his ratings have been steadily decreasing in the last few years time and CBS needs to go with someone fresh and funny and not stale as Letterman has been as of late...I'm all for Craig Ferguson to take over the slot and Neil Patrick Harris or Drew carey to take over the late show thereafter, but it was just time as his contract comes to an end next year.
While I think the show has declined, I've always liked Letterman and I hope he enjoys his retirement. After so many years on the air I'd say he's earned it.
I'd be surprised if CBS moved Craig Ferguson to the early slot. While I think he has the interviewing skills to take over the early slot, his comedic bent seems geared to a later time slot with more relaxed guidelines. I'd be surprised if his bleeped profanity would fly (with the CBS brass) at the "mainstream" time slot. It is the logical move however, so I'm probably wrong.
I just think back to when he hosted Late Night on NBC and that was cutting edge entertainment. A lot of bleary-eyed mornings at school in the years before he left for CBS.
Posted this earlier on the Seattle Times web-site but worth repeating.
"It's about time. We all do our jobs and eventually retire. His early years were great, but he's pretty annoying now, time to go and let somebody younger take over.And please oh please replace "Paul what's his name" who does the "music" with just about anybody. He has got to be the most boring person on television in history"
I'm not anti-Letterman, but it's time to move on.
I agree with you Matt. I've always liked Dave's interviews and default to him at 11:30.Leno I just never warmed to, Conan was always hit or miss, Fallon I still don't really like the style though it's certainly improved over the last 3 years, Kimmel I'm not sure I've ever watched a whole show.Honestly I thing Craig Ferguson easily in the best interviewer of any of the late night hosts. His interview style when he's talking to guests (or actually listening to the guests talk) is much more Carson-like than any of the others to me. It's feels far more like a conversation with a guest than an interview plus his guests tend to be far more outside the standard Top 40 than the Big Shows.
I agree to an extent, at least comparing him to all of the other late night guys, but his interviews are still pretty bland and fluffy. Every once in a while (like Paris Hilton) he would step outside the box, but for the most part 90% of his interviews were no different than the other late night talking heads. The only celebrity interviewer I've ever heard that truly does it right and asks the right questions on a consistent basis is Howard Stern. I know that's a whole different medium, but once you hear a celebrity Stern interview, it's hard to listen to anyone else do it.
Of the current late show hosts, I probably like Craig Ferguson the best -- but I'm not a daily viewer. Without wanting to compare or contrast any of the merits of existings hosts, though, I can't imagine that CBS let's Craig do his show at 11:30, I mean, it's just a guy and a robot skeleton and a fake horse. I love it, but it doesn't seem like CBS would be into anything so low key.
Paris Hilton sat through an interview that I still think of as absolute TV Gold, where Letterman asks her the questions that a big part of the audience really wanted.
Weirdly, the article calls the Paris Hilton interview "deplorable" - I don't get that. Agree with you Matt, it was gold.
One thing I never got about Letterman was that top 10 list. It was never funny and I was actually surprised to see recently that he's still doing it.
I'm a big Ferguson fan. While I'm not sure his profanity schtick plays at 11:30 either, he does actually talk to his guests and...listens to what they say. That's huge...and so few do it.
Dave transformed his show quite a bit when he left NBC for CBS. Maybe Ferguson could do the same.
One last thing. The April Fool's bit where Drew Carey hosted Ferguson's show while Ferguson hosted The Price is Right...played to each man's strengths and abilities. I almost think that each outshone the other at their regular gig.
Here's a great memory from the mid-80s:
I'm pretty sure that Craig wouldn't play well at 11:30 -- some of it is so low/no budget oriented is what makes it funny. All the non profanity sexual stuff I just imagine would be allowed earlier. Lesbian Row, the Gay Robot, all the Penis Jokes, the unabashed flirting with the female guests (and leering at Lisa and her friend). I suspect he would adapt pretty well, but it would be a completely different show. Watching his interview with Clare Dane's Father, Desmond Tutu, many of his shows with Stephan Wright when Craig gets deeply serious, I find it's shockingly good and actually reminds me a lot of the old Tom Snyder Tomorrow show in its prime.I really didn't like Carey that much honestly. Reiner's interview was pure gold as usual, but stick Carl Reiner in front of a pack of Oscar Meyer Hot dogs and let him talk and I'd buy it on PPV. One of the absolutely funniest men I've ever witnessed -- and I'm pushing 50 years into witnessing it and I'm still laughing.I didn't see The Price Is Right, but my wife recorded it and enjoyed it.
When Letterman decided that he was going to only cater to the biases of half the country and needlessly antagonize the half that voted differently in an election (violating a rule Carson and for the most part Leno tried to adhere to over the years) he became a total joke of an unfunny kind. But even before he started to become an ideologue, I always was put-off by his whole demeanor which came off to me as that of a guy still acting like a smart-ass college frat boy into his middle-age and then his 60s. Carson, even at his silliest, still had the gravitas of a grown-up and Letterman, who always fancied himself as Johnny's true heir could never hold a candle to the kind of person and presence Carson was. Leno may not have been Johnny either, but NBC as far as I'm concerned made the right decision in 1992 and the fact that Leno won the ratings battle for almost the entire time they were in competition proved that point.