Let­ter­man in Netf lix deal

The late-night le­gend is leav­ing re­tire­ment for the talk show, set to pre­miere in 2018 on the stream­ing ser­vice.

Los Angeles Times - - BUSINESS - By Stephen Battaglio stephen.battaglio @latimes.com Twit­ter: @SteveBattaglio

The late-night le­gend will host a six-episode se­ries set to pre­miere in 2018 on the stream­ing ser­vice.

Late-night talk show le­gend David Let­ter­man is join­ing the Net­flix brigade.

The stream­ing video gi­ant an­nounced Tues­day that the for­mer CBS “Late Show” host has signed on to do a six-episode talk show that will pre­miere in 2018.

It will be Let­ter­man’s first se­ries since re­tir­ing from late-night TV in May 2015 af­ter a 33-year run across two net­works. The 70-year-old comic’s only TV job since has been as host of an episode of Na­tional Ge­o­graphic Chan­nel’s “Years of Liv­ing Dan­ger­ously.”

“I feel ex­cited and lucky to be work­ing on this project for Net­flix,” Let­ter­man said in a state­ment. “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.”

In the new se­ries, which does not yet have a name, Let­ter­man will con­duct one in-depth in­ter­view with a guest per hour­long episode and will ap­pear in seg­ments pro­duced out­side a stu­dio set­ting.

The show is be­ing pro­duced by Rad­i­calMe­dia, which made the Net­flix doc­u­men­tary “What Hap­pened, Miss Simone?” and spe­cial “Oh, Hello on Broad­way,” and by Let­ter­man’s com­pany World­wide Pants.

It’s the sec­ond sig­nif­i­cant deal for Net­flix an­nounced this week. On Mon­day, Net­flix an­nounced its ac­qui­si­tion of comic book pub­lisher Mil­lar­world, giv­ing the com­pany ac­cess to the char­ac­ters and fran­chises for fu­ture pro­gram­ming.

The terms of Let­ter­man’s deal with Net­flix were not dis­closed. But the freespend­ing Net­flix has been stock­pil­ing A-list comic tal­ent. It poached Jerry Se­in­feld’s Emmy-win­ning se­ries “Co­me­di­ans in Cars Get­ting Cof­fee” af­ter that se­ries gained pop­u­lar­ity on Sony’s Crackle. Net­flix re­port­edly spent $100 mil­lion in a pact that in­cluded two stand-up spe­cials. Dave Chap­pelle, Amy Schumer and Chris Rock have all landed lu­cra­tive deals for their next stand-up spe­cials on Net­flix.

Since leav­ing CBS in May 2015, Let­ter­man has largely re­treated to his home in Mon­tana. He has been con­sid­er­ing nu­mer­ous projects but none that would have put him back in the nightly grind of late-night TV. Suc­cess­ful late-night stars tend to take a lower pro­file af­ter they walk away from their desks and so­fas.

Let­ter­man’s long­time late-night ri­val Jay Leno has largely limited his post “Tonight Show” TV ac­tiv­ity to a CNBC se­ries, “Jay Leno’s Garage.” For­mer Comedy Cen­tral host Jon Ste­wart has a pro­duc­tion deal with HBO, and a standup spe­cial was re­cently an­nounced, but he has yet to get a project on the air for the pre­mium ca­ble ser­vice. Let­ter­man’s idol Johnny Car­son only did a voice for “The Simp­sons” af­ter leav­ing NBC’s “The Tonight Show.”

“Just meet­ing David Let­ter­man was a thrill; imag­ine how ex­cit­ing it is for me to an­nounce that we will be work­ing to­gether,” Netf lix Chief Con­tent Of­fi­cer Ted Saran­dos said in a state­ment. “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.”

John Paul Filo CBS

THE NET­FLIX talk show will be David Let­ter­man’s first se­ries since re­tir­ing from late-night TV in 2015 af­ter a 33-year run across two net­works. Above, Let­ter­man hosts his fi­nal broad­cast on CBS’ “Late Show.”

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