Dave in run for a record
Letterman is about to overtake his idol, Johnny Carson
INDELICATE questions and in-your-face mockery have made host David Letterman the king of the comedy-cumcurrent affairs shows on US late-night television.
Although he turns 65 today, he won’t be going away any time soon.
Letterman has signed a new contract with CBS which ensures he will be fronting The Late Show with David Letterman for another two years, meaning by 2014 he will have hosted his own show for 32 years, albeit for two separate broadcasters.
That would surpass the record of another US television legend, Johnny Carson and his Tonight Show, which aired for 30 years.
Nothing is sacred to Letterman, whose sarcasm makes him a kind of court jester who will try almost anything to get a laugh. American audiences love him for his biting irreverence.
He has picked up more than a dozen Emmy Awards and has had many more nominations for the top US television prize.
Politicians and celebrities can expect exquisite torture during appearances on his Late Show, which is a talk show mixed with Letterman’s humorous monologues.
The son of a florist from the state of Indiana, Letterman first gained an audience on his university’s student radio station.
A local television station then hired him as a local anchor and weatherman. He upset his bosses by once congratulating a tropical storm for being upgraded to a hurricane. Weather forecasting was not where Letterman wanted to end up, and so he moved to Los Angeles.
As occasional presenter on various TV shows, he finally caught the attention of Johnny Carson’s team, and, sooner than he expected, he got the chance to follow his idol Carson’s footsteps.
From 1978 he was regularly filling in for the host on Carson’s Tonight Show on NBC.
It was not long before NBC offered him a later slot of his own after Carson’s hour, the genesis of Late Night with David Letterman in 1982.
Monday to Friday, late, Ten, Ten SC.