STUPID FAN TRICKS NEWS
FOR THE WEEK OF JUNE 17, '02|
The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, 5.97
Late Show with David Letterman, 4.20
Tonight Show, 2.1/9, Late
Show, 1.5/7, Nightline, 1.2/5
Tonight Show, 2.4/9, Late
Show, 1.8/7, Nightline, 1.4/6
are down across the board for late night television,
summer reruns in primetime have hurt the lead-in audience
for the shows, making the ratings lower, a not of
interest is that The Tonight Show
has taken a much bigger hit that the Late
Show or Nightline,
Tonight has a 5.97,
compared to 6.90 about a month ago, while the Late
Show has a 4.20 compared to 4.89
about a month ago, and Nightline
has a 3.96 compared to 4.14 about a month ago.
months ratings five stories down)
TO ABC ON JULY 8|
|David Letterman will move to ABC late night
at 12:05AM on July 8, 2002 right after Nightline,
we should mention that he will only be on for one night
in an interview on the new program Nightline: Up
Close, the show starts off it's very first episode
with a full half hour of David Letterman. Each episode of
Up Close will feature one person, famous people,
normal people, all kinds if people, it will certainly
always be interesting.
This marks a rare appearance for David
Letterman who has denied every interview since 1996
because "he feels he has an hour each night to talk
and he can do all the talking about himself that he wants
to do there." said Late Show Executive
Producer Rob Burnett, this interview came about on March
12, the day after Mr. Letterman announced he was staying
with CBS, he praised Ted Koppel, and said things like 'Nightline
should stay on forever,' Ted Koppel called to thank Mr.
Letterman, asked him if he would do an interview,
Letterman said yes, he then asked Mr. Koppel to appear on
his show as well, which he will later that same week on
Friday, July 12.
"Dave is no
show-business weasel," said Rob Burnett, adding
"He promised Ted, and he's going to do it." Tom
Bettag, the executive producer of Nightline,
said Mr. Koppel and the rest of the Nightline
staff have no ill will toward Mr. Letterman over what he
called "the recent unpleasantness." He said Mr.
Letterman had been "very, very gracious" about
making himself available to help start the new Nightline
series. "Dave and Ted like each other a
lot," Mr. Bettag said. "That's really why this
FORBES CELEBRITY 100 LIST|
Letterman made the list of powerful celebrities
once again, this year he was at number 23, Last year he
was 24. Dave ranked 32nd in the money category, received
127,000 web hits, was featured in 11,290 press clips, and
was in 338 TV and radio clips. Forbes writes about Dave:
He captured headlines once with his post-Sept. 11
show and again with his should-I-stay-or-should-I-go
dance with CBS and ABC. But he still trails Jay Leno in
the late-night ratings race.
Speaking of Jay Leno, where does he
rank? He was number 41, with 116,000 web hits, 9,387
press clips, 1 cover story, and 294 TV and radio clips.
Forbes writes about Jay:
He doesn't get the press, the critical acclaim or the
pay that David Letterman gets, but he does draw a bigger
audience, night after night. Off camera he is a tireless
Other talk show hosts to make the list include Oprah
who comes in at #8, Rosie O'Donnell at
#32, Rush Limbaugh at #40, Howard
Stern is #45, Regis Philbin at
#73, and Martin Short at #90.
Click here to see the full list
WANTED LETTERMAN BACK LAST YEAR [NY TIMES]|
before David Letterman was courted this spring by ABC,
which tried to to lure him from CBS, he had another
suitor, one that was only too familiar and only too
resonant of what might have been.
NBC, the network Mr.
Letterman left in 1993 after losing out to Jay Leno in
the quest to succeed Johnny Carson at "The Tonight
Show," made a serious approach to bring Mr.
Letterman back beginning last July. But the plan was not
to install him in the "Tonight" chair, which is
still occupied by Mr. Leno. NBC's idea was to give Mr.
Letterman a prominent spot in its prime-time lineup: the
slot from 8 to 9 p.m. every weeknight except Thursday,
when the hit "Friends" is broadcast.
Jeff Zucker, the president
of NBC Entertainment, who came up with the plan, declined
to comment. But Rob Burnett, who heads Mr. Letterman's
production company, Worldwide Pants, confirmed that Mr.
Zucker spoke to him in Los Angeles last summer, laying
out the plan.
The suggestion was not a
negotiation under his CBS contract Mr. Letterman
could not negotiate until early this year. "But we
could listen," Mr. Burnett said.
He said he immediately
realized that if Mr. Letterman could be won over, Mr.
Zucker would be able to stabilize a problematic time slot
for NBC, saving the network millions in program costs.
Hiring Mr. Letterman could also bolster the ratings
fortunes for Mr. Leno at "Tonight" by removing
Mr. Letterman as a late-night rival. It would also mean a
bigger paycheck for Mr. Letterman.
"It was a very smart
idea," Mr. Burnett said. "Jeff doesn't just
think outside the box; with him you can't even find the
Still, Mr. Burnett told
Mr. Zucker that Mr. Letterman had always resisted the
idea of moving into prime time. He suggested that Mr.
Zucker could sway Mr. Letterman by shifting Mr. Leno to 8
and turning "Tonight" over to Mr. Letterman
an option Mr. Zucker was not going to pursue. Mr.
Leno is the ratings leader in late-night programming.
Mr. Burnett told Mr.
Zucker that the idea was intriguing but would almost
surely not get anywhere with Mr. Letterman. A short time
later, Mr. Burnett said he mentioned it to Mr. Letterman.
"We chatted briefly about it," he said.
"Dave had a good laugh over it."
KIMMEL ON DAVID LETTERMAN|
|In a new
article on Jimmy Kimmel in the New
York Times, Kimmel, who begins his own late night
talk show in January, which will compete with the Late
Show, had this to say about David
...Mr. Kimmel says he has spent his
entire adulthood with one goal: to be David Letterman.
"The only reason I ever even got into show business
was that I might be able to hang out with him
someday," Mr. Kimmel said of Mr. Letterman. "He
practically invented my sense of humor."
He continued (perhaps to the chagrin of his new bosses):
"It's silly for me to think of anyone wanting to
watch me instead of Letterman." He paused. "I
Brooklyn-born but raised in Las Vegas, Mr. Kimmel says
his fascination with Mr. Letterman manifested itself in
high school. His personalized license plate read
"L8NITE"; on his 18th birthday, his cake was
decorated with the "Late Night" logo.
And when Mr. Kimmel learned that Mr. Letterman had
started in radio, he headed there. At 17 he had a weekly
show on a college radio station where he'd "find
local celebrities and make fun of them," using such
time-honored techniques as massive pizza delivery
Read the full article here:
FOR THE WEEK OF MAY 13, '02|
The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, 6.90
Late Show with David Letterman, 4.89
Tonight Show, 2.6/11,
Late Show, 2.0/8,
Tonight Show, 2.9/11,
Late Show, 2.2/9,
The Late Show
posted it's highest ratings of the year
and is up 200,000 viewers from the last published new
episode ratings, I guess all of the new promotion and
press for Letterman's show is helping. The
Tonight Show is also up, but only slightly
from the shows average, and about 100,000 viewers less
than the April 8th ratings, when the Late
Show had a 4.59, and Tonight
had a 6.99. Nightline
is down, but only slightly, the show remains consistant
in it's ratings.
APPEARANCE AT CBS UPFRONTS [HOLLYWOOD REPORTER]|
|The guest of honor at CBS' upfront
presentation at Carnegie Hall on Wednesday (May 17)
didn't RSVP until a few hours before the big show, but it
was smiles all around for CBS brass when David Letterman
strolled out onstage to greet the assembled ad buyers.
As always, CBS' 2
1/2-hour presentation included elaborate comedy bits, and
this year's topic was the high-stakes contract renewal
drama among Letterman, CBS and ABC. Letterman's barbs
were spiked, and Moonves was self-deprecating, but the
significance of Letterman's appearance after a
much-publicized struggle with his network was not lost on
off the widespread reports that Letterman has felt
underappreciated by CBS, a taped segment showed Moonves
washing Letterman's car, washing the faux windows on
Letterman's stage set and impersonating Letterman
bandleader Paul Shaffer. Viacom president and chief
operating officer Mel Karmazin even got into the act with
a taped segment showing him driving a truck loaded with
money bags and dumping them on Letterman's doorstep.
who signed a five-year deal to continue as host of CBS'
"Late Show With David Letterman" for a cool $31
million a year, walked out at the end of the video,
greeting the Carnegie Hall crowd with the observation,
"What a dump!"
Moonves described Letterman as "the gold standard in
late-night," Letterman returned the compliment by
noting, "Les, we've known each other a long time ...
and God, you're handsome."
ended his appearance with -- what else? -- a top 10 list,
albeit an abridged version. "Top 10 ways I will make
the 'Late Show' better," Letterman vowed. "No.
10 -- who am I kidding? After 20 years, I'm too tired to
do anything but the same old crap."
GREATEST SHOWS OF ALL TIME [CNN]|
|Seinfeld, The 1990s show starring
comedian Jerry Seinfeld as a New York comedian hanging
out with three of his pals -- Elaine, George and Kramer
-- topped TV Guide's list of the 50 most
entertaining or influential television series in American
The list, appearing in the currentissue,
will get the countdown treatment in an ABC special on May
13, "TV Guide's 50 Best Shows of All Time,"
part of the magazine's celebration of its golden
entries, chosen and ranked by TV Guide editors, consist
of regularly scheduled series spanning more than a half
century of television, going as far back as NBC's
pioneering live comedy/variety program, Your Show of
which debuted in 1950 starring Sid Caesar and Imogene
Coca, was ranked No. 30.
miniseries and specials were not eligible.
accounts for most of the shows, though a few daytime
programs made the list -- NBC's Today (No. 17) and the
syndicated talk shows Donahue (No. 29) and The Oprah
Winfrey Show (No. 49).
late-night front, the CBS Late Show with David Letterman
got the highest ranking, at No. 7, beating out even NBC's
The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson (No. 12).
Letterman's arch rival -- and Carson's successor -- Jay
Leno, failed to make the cut. ABC's Nightline ranked
dominated the list with 17 shows, which, besides
Seinfeld, ranged from Saturday Night Live at No. 10 to
the Judd Hirsch sitcom Taxi, which also aired on ABC, at
the list with 16 shows, led by I Love Lucy at No. 2, and
boasted five other programs in the top 10, including The
Honeymooners (No. 3), All in the Family (No. 4), 60
Minutes (No. 6) and The Andy Griffith Show (No. 9).
A total of
eight ABC shows made the list, led by the late-1980s,
early '90s drama thirtysomething, while Fox had two
entries -- animated sitcom satire The Simpsons at No. 8
and sci-fi thriller The X-Files at No. 37.
other cartoon series to make the list was ABC's Rocky and
His Friends at No. 47.
television was represented by just two shows -- mob drama
The Sopranos at No. 5 and Garry Shandling's The Larry
Sanders Show at No. 38, both on HBO.
also had two series on the list -- the landmark
children's program Sesame Street (No. 27) and the
pioneering 1973 reality series An American Family (No.
32). But modern-day reality hit Survivor was snubbed, as
were all game shows. Not even Who Wants to Be a
Millionaire made the list.
fledgling networks the WB and UPN had to settle for one
shared entry, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which has aired
on both outlets.
2. I Love Lucy
3. The Honeymooners
4. All in the Family
5. The Sopranos
6. 60 Minutes
7. Late Show with David Letterman
8. The Simpsons
9. The Andy Griffith Show
10. Saturday Night Live
11. The Mary Tyler Moore Show
12. The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson
13. The Dick Van Dyke Show
14. Hill Street Blues
15. The Ed Sullivan Show
16. The Carol Burnett Show
20. St. Elsewhere
24. Law & Order
26. The Twilight Zone
27. Sesame Street
28. The Cosby Show
30. Your Show of Shows
31. The Defenders
32. An American Family
33. Playhouse 90
36. The Fugitive
37. The X-Files
38. The Larry Sanders Show
39. The Rockford Files
41. Buffy the Vampire Slayer
42. Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In
44. The Bob Newhart Show
45. Twin Peaks
46. Star Trek: The Next Generation
47. Rocky and His Friends
49. The Oprah Winfrey Show
for the week of april 15|
The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, 6.32
Late Show with David Letterman, 4.11
Tonight Show, 2.3/10, Late
Show, 1.7/7, Nightline, 1.3/6
Tonight Show, 2.7/11, Late
Show, 1.9/8, Nightline, 1.5/6
ratings aren't that suprising considering the Late
Show was in reruns for the week of April
15, what is suprising is Leno's major drop,
Tonight went from a
6.99 to a 6.32, Nightline
is the only show in late night that remains consistant, it
was even up in the 18-49 demo, and remained
the same in the 25-54 group, it also remained
the same in total viewers with a 4.35,
look for next weeks numbers to be quite different, we
are likely to see a big jump for the Late
for the week of april 8|
The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, 6.99
Late Show with David Letterman, 4.59
Tonight Show, 2.7/11, Late
Show, 1.9/ 8, Nightline, 1.3/5
Tonight Show, 2.9/11, Late
Show, 2.2/8, Nightline, 1.5/6
reason The Tonight Show is up
in the ratings, Leno is nearing 7 million viewers
a night! The Late Show
remains about the same, perhaps with CBS upping ads for
the show (see story below) ratings will improve, Nightline
is also up, but down in the key demographics. So just why
is everyone going up in late night except the Late
Show? I just can't understand it. Look for
this weeks Late Show ratings to
even lower due to reruns.
spots for letterman [hollywood reporter]|
|One month after David Letterman
re-upped with CBS following a high-profile flirtation
with ABC, CBS says it has significantly stepped up
marketing for his show. The marketing commitment to
"Late Show With David Letterman" became an
issue during the negotiations, with the show's producers
saying that putting Viacom marketing muscle behind
Letterman was key to the deal to stay.
"We've added a lot more exposure in many things we
do," said George Schweitzer, executive vp marketing
and communications at CBS. "It's a much more
stepped-up, aggressive plan."
Schweitzer said two new elements to the network's
promotion of "Letterman" are radio and
billboard advertising on Viacom-owned properties.
Billboards are going up in major markets beginning this
week, including a giant billboard featuring Letterman on
the side of the Viacom building in Times Square. Radio
ads on Viacom's Infinity Broadcasting are also beginning
CBS has added promo spots of "all shapes and
sizes" for Letterman on-air, Schweitzer said, with
an emphasis on sports programming. "The show skews
male and younger, and these are very successful programs
for us," said Schweitzer, citing examples including
golf coverage and telecasts of the NCAA basketball
CBS has also worked Letterman into its network theme
campaign spots on CBS. On cable, such Viacom channels as
VH1 and MTV are being used to step up the
"Letterman" promo push.
Rob Burnett, executive producer of "Letterman"
and head of Letterman's Worldwide Pants production
company, said at the time of the CBS re-up that this kind
of commitment was extremely important to the pact.
"This negotiation was about a commitment from a
network to a show," Burnett said. "We believe
we now have re-energized that commitment."
for the week of april 1|
The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, 6.47
Late Show with David Letterman, 4.51
Tonight Show, 2.4/10, Late
Show, 1.9/ 8, Nightline, 1.4/
Tonight Show, 2.7/11, Late
Show, 1.9/ 8, Nightline, 1.6/
an April Fools joke, Jay Leno is still
going strong, but is down quite a bit from his first
quarter average of 6.7, David Letterman
is also down, but by less viewers, 4.7
was the Late Show's first
quarter average, compared to the current 4.5.
But with Conan O'Brien saying wonderful
things about Dave on Last Call with Carson
Daly and Larry King Live,
combined with the NBC 50 Years in Late Night
special, the ratings may just improve.
first quarter ratings average for all the others|
|Late Night with Conan O'Brien,
2.5, (Up 4% from last year)
Late Late Show
with Craig Kilborn, 1.4, (Down
5% from last year)
Incorrect with Bill Maher, 2.5, (Down
11% from last year)
Call with Carson Daly, 1.7
O'Brien is the clear winner here, nothing is
slowing this guy down, the show is sharp and crazy and as
funny as ever.
Kilborn can't seem to hold on to that Letterman
lead-in, Kilborn is still doing just fine, so fans of the
show needn't worry. The show is still very original and
very funny, it is slowly finding it's audience, lets not
forget that Conan was a flop in the early years.
is dropping like a brick, no wonder ABC is dumping it,
it's kind of a shame, hopefully Bill will do the same
type of show somewhere else, or ABC will create a new
similar program without Bill.
Call is a hit, and it deserves to be a hit,
check out this great show after Conan on NBC and in
primetime on E! Entertainment.
first quarter ratings average|
Tonight Show, 6.75, Late Show, 4.70, Nightline,
Tonight Show, 2.5/10, Late Show, 1.9/
8, Nightline, 1.4/ 6
Tonight Show, 2.9/11, Late Show, 2.1/
8, Nightline, 1.6/ 6
repeats for letterman [zap2it.com]|
|Add "The Late Show with
David Letterman" to the list of network programs
seeking instant reruns on cable.
Part of Letterman's
new contract with CBS -- which kept him from jumping to
ABC -- calls for the network to increase promotion of "The
Late Show." "Repurposing" -- the
industry term for quick repeats of a show on cable or a
sister network -- would accomplish that, and it would
also let CBS amortize the show's cost over two airings.
the repurposing talks are just starting, "Late
Show" executive producer Rob Burnett tells the Philadelphia
Inquirer that MTV and VH1, like CBS parts of Viacom,
"are the obvious suspects."
actively pushing the notion forward," says Burnett,
who's also president of World Wide Pants, Letterman's
recently signed two repurposing deals for its
after-midnight fare. "Last Call with Carson
Daly" airs on E! the next day, and repeats of "Late
Night with Conan O'Brien" will begin
running on Comedy Central in September.
says he hopes Letterman repeats can also air within 24
hours of the original broadcast, when the material is
still relatively fresh and there's a chance to promote
the next night's show.
"can be very helpful, if done properly,"
Burnett says. "Everyone's inclination about this is
more positive than negative. It's a great promotional
for the week of march 18|
Tonight Show, 5.74 million, Late Show,
4.64, Nightline, 4.28
Tonight Show, 2.2/ 9, Late Show, 1.8/
8, Nightline, 1.4/ 6
Tonight Show, 2.5/10, Late Show, 2.0/
8, Nightline, 1.6/ 6
for the week of february 25|
Tonight Show 6.79 million, Late Show
4.07, Nightline 3.96
Tonight Show 2.5/11, Late Show 1.7/7, Nightline
Tonight Show 3.1/12, Late Show 1.8/7, Nightline
staying at cbs [tvbarn.com]|
|By AARON BARNHART
ended 10 days of intense media speculation about his
future Monday night when he announced on his late-night
show that he would be staying with CBS.
announcement was greeted with enthusiastic applause,
which Letterman then characteristically followed with a
know it sounds pretty good to you, folks, but there goes
the vacation to Disney World," he said.
Disney Company, which owns the ABC network, had made
overtures to Letterman in recent weeks about moving his
show to ABC. When reports of these negotiations were
leaked to the press, it touched off a firestorm within
ABC's news division. Disney executives had promised
Letterman the time period for its long-running news
program "Nightline" but had failed to tell this
to either "Nightline" anchor Ted Koppel or ABC
News chief David Westin.
new deal will run five years, but he will have a yearly
option to retire beginning in 2004. Other terms were not
announced, but The New York Times reported both networks
had been offering Letterman salaries of about $31.5
million a year. He had been making $30 million under his
last deal at CBS.
Letterman praised Disney for being "gracious and
generous and very patient," he heaped more praise on
Koppel and indicated that one reason he rejected ABC's
offer was the impact it would have on
"Nightline." He also alluded to the controversy
surrounding Disney's decision to jettison a prestigious
news program in favor of an entertainment show.
Koppel," Letterman said, "at the very least
deserves the right to determine his own professional
future. Absolutely no less than that."
appeared Letterman had patched up things with CBS chief
Leslie Moonves. The two men have sparred over matters of
promotion and scheduling problems. Their personalities
Moonves the smooth Hollywood insider, Letterman
the lonely outsider reportedly do not mesh well.
think the hard feelings were overblown," said
"Late Show" executive producer Rob Burnett
Monday in a telephone interview. "What happened here
is that CBS had an opportunity to make a deal with us.
That deal didn't get done and as a result, ABC cropped
up." Burnett said Letterman felt "obliged"
to entertain ABC's offer.
a nine-year marriage and there are tussels," Burnett
said. "They have different priorities sometimes. We
got upset when we were delayed because the Grammys ran
long. There's a lot of that in any long-term
had privately complained that CBS wasn't doing enough to
promote his show across the spectrum of youthful networks
owned by CBS' corporate parent, Viacom, such as UPN, MTV
said CBS showed "how badly it wanted Dave to
stay" in part by offering broader cross-promotion
Letterman couldn't resist getting in a few pokes at his
current and future employer Monday night.
all of the sudden, they can't kiss up to me enough,"
he said. "I finally got a get-well card for my
bypass surgery two years ago."
Special thanks to Aaron
Barnhart who runs TVBarn.com for providing this story on
|On Monday, March 11th, Late Show
host David Letterman addressed the audience about his
decision to stay at CBS, or move to ABC. Dave has decided
to stay at CBS, he made many jokes about it in the
monologue, then he went over to his desk, (everyones
favorite part of the show) and he further discussed the
issue, telling the story of when he came here from NBC 9
years ago. Many good jokes were told, and it was a nice
story, I won't spoil it for you--you can watch tonight.
decision in The Stupid Fan
||charts and graphs|
1978: David Letterman makes the first of 22
appearances on "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny
Carson." He also guest hosts the "Tonight
Show" numerous times.
"Late Night with David Letterman" premieres on
May 1992: Johnny Carson tapes his
final show. Three days later, Jay Leno takes the reins.
Dec. 1992: His contract expiring at
NBC, David Letterman accepts an offer from CBS to host
the 11:30 p.m. EST time slot that would compete directly
with Jay Leno.
Aug. 1993: The "Late Show with
David Letterman" premieres on CBS. The show's
ratings consistently beat the "Tonight Show"
July 1995: The "Tonight
Show" scores a huge ratings win after Hugh Grant
appears on the show to discuss his recent arrest with a
Los Angeles prostitute.
Jan. 2000: David Letterman undergoes
quintuple bypass surgery.
Jan. 2001: Jay Leno negotiates and
accepts a contract that keeps him at NBC through 2005.
Unlike his predecessor, his new contract doesn't include
an ownership stake in the show.
March 2002: David Letterman
considers moving his show to ABC.
Jay Leno: 6.7
David Letterman: 4.7
- leno rivalry drives current "late show" drama [wsj]|
|By JOE FLINT
Will Dave move to
ABC? If he does, what will happen to Ted? The current
media-industry soap opera raises many weighty questions
about the future of network news and the economics of
But on another level, it's all about how
badly David Letterman wants to topple Jay Leno. Mr.
Letterman wouldn't even consider moving his "Late
Show" to ABC from CBS if he didn't think a different
network, with a younger audience and promises of a huge
promotional blitz, would help him close the ratings gap
with "The Tonight Show" on NBC.
Ever since General Electric Co.'s NBC tapped
Mr. Leno to succeed Johnny Carson as host of "The
Tonight Show" in 1992, he and Mr. Letterman have
been locked in mortal combat. The critics love Dave. The
audience loves Jay. This drives both men crazy.
Mr. Letterman never used to acknowledge Mr.
Leno's existence, either publicly or privately, until
about two years ago, when he began mocking his nemesis,
with his high-pitched Boston accent and his supposedly
shallow interview style, on the air. But no amount of
Jay-bashing can change the irksome fact that "The
Tonight Show" regularly beats "Late Show"
in terms of number of viewers and the audience
demographics that command top dollar from advertisers.
ABC's pitch to Mr. Letterman is the latest
installment in the long-running television saga that
began in 1993, when CBS lured Mr. Letterman away from his
"late-late night" slot following "The
Tonight Show" on NBC. Going head-to-head with Mr.
Leno, Mr. Letterman at first dominated. At 11:30 p.m., he
found a much wider audience than the one he'd had in his
old 12:30 a.m. slot. The publicity surrounding his
defection and his new show was enormous, and he was
Mr. Leno, meanwhile, was struggling to fill
Mr. Carson's capacious shoes. Critics were hard on him.
He had to cope with backstage turmoil and the knowledge
that NBC had at one point seriously weighed replacing him
with Mr. Letterman, before Mr. Letterman's move to CBS.
Then, in 1995, everything changed. "The
Tonight Show" started beating "Late Show"
on a regular basis. Late-night historians point to Mr.
Leno's interview that year with British actor Hugh Grant,
his first after being arrested for dallying with a
prostitute, as the turning point. But in fact, it isn't
that simple. Long before late-night audiences ever heard
of Divine Brown, NBC's shows generally had been gaining
ground. The view in Mr. Letterman's camp is that Mr.
Leno's boat just rose with the tide.
More than the monologue or the celebrity
guests, the biggest reason "Late Show" hasn't
been able to pull ahead may be, of all things, football.
CBS lost professional football to the Fox network in
1994, which hurt CBS with one of Mr. Letterman's most
loyal audiences -- young males. That football deal
allowed Fox to woo eight local stations in major markets
away from CBS, including Detroit, Atlanta, Phoenix and
Dallas, forcing CBS to move to weaker stations. Urban
viewers, of course, are another one of Mr. Letterman's
strong suits. It isn't a coincidence that after CBS got
football back, the ratings for "Late Show" have
Meanwhile, over on NBC, "The Tonight
Show" was benefiting from changes elsewhere in the
programming line-up. "Seinfeld" was just
becoming a monster hit, "Friends" and
"ER" were launched to blockbuster success, and
"Today" became the No. 1 morning show. It would
have been hard for "The Tonight Show" to avoid
making gains -- which is why some bashers of the program
have taken to calling it the "Veronica's
Closet" of late-night TV, a reference to a
critically panned NBC comedy that succeeded by virtue of
airing in the time slot following "Seinfeld."
Indeed, despite Mr. Leno's ratings triumph,
critics continue to disparage him. The Washington Post's
Tom Shales routinely beats up on him, saying he has
trouble connecting to guests. Entertainment Weekly's Ken
Tucker wrote that "The Tonight Show" is
"primarily a place for celebrities to go hawk their
But Mr. Leno's success may be a simple
reminder that network TV is still a mass medium, and that
Johnny Carson's mainstream legacy hasn't vanished. Robert
Thompson, director of Syracuse University's Center for
the Study of Popular Television, says David Letterman may
have "transformed" TV, but Jay Leno is easier
to take before falling to sleep. "Dave's biggest
problem is that while he is funnier, and more intense,
and is the life of the party, he isn't someone you want
to go home with," Prof. Thompson says. Jay, on the
other hand, "has mastered the ability to deliver a
program which is very easy and is, in fact, pleasurable
to fall asleep in the middle of."
There are, of course, no guarantees that Mr.
Letterman would actually gain ground on his rival if he
jumps to ABC. But there are certain advantages. Despite
its prime-time ratings freefall, ABC, a unit of Walt
Disney Co., has much stronger stations in the big urban
markets. In Philadelphia, for example, the ABC station
has been No. 1 for 30 years.
ABC is promising to blanket its ESPN sports
channels with promotions for Mr. Letterman, delivering
young males. The Letterman camp has grumbled that CBS, a
unit of Viacom Inc., didn't do enough to promote him on
Viacom's young-skewing cable networks MTV and VH1.
But a move to ABC would carry risks. For
starters, Mr. Letterman's ratings have improved a bit
over the past two years. CBS can make the case to Mr.
Letterman that a switch to ABC would confuse viewers,
possible opening the door for Mr. Leno to stretch his
lead still further.
of the moment [ew]|
|Why WOULDN'T ABC want David
Letterman instead of Ted Koppel? ''The Late Show
with David Letterman'' may pull in lower ratings for CBS
than Leno does over at NBC, but it regularly creams
Koppel's ''Nightline.'' More important, it brings in
younger viewers, averaging 50 percent more under-35s than
ABC's ''Nightline''-''Politically Incorrect'' hour. And
that, in turn, brings the advertisers baying: ''Late
Show'' makes $175 million in ad revenue as opposed to
Koppel's $75 million. So does ABC, staggering ineptly in
so many directions, want some of that $100 million? You
bet it does.
And why WOULDN'T David Letterman want ABC?
Ever since the departure of CBS president Howard Stringer
in 1995 -- the suit who brought Letterman over from NBC
back in 1993 -- the prickly talk-show host has remained
aloof from his executive-suite keepers. No glad-handing
the advertisers, no showing up for brown-nosing
promotional appearances, barely speaking to network CEO
Les Moonves. For someone with skin as thin as Letterman
-- and he practically flays himself on a daily basis --
why wouldn't he be open to courting from a network that
desperately needs his hip appeal (even if he'd doubtless
be bitching about the stupidity of ABC executives within
a week of making the transition)?
to think of it, why WOULDN'T Ted Koppel want to dump ABC
and jump to CNN or whichever friendly, sympathetic
24-hour news channel wants to give him a berth?
Especially since his bosses at ABC and Disney --
primarily Bob Iger, president of Walt Disney
Communications -- have gone out of their way to publicly
disrespect him and all of the ABC news division by a)
tendering an offer to Letterman without clueing in
Koppel's direct boss, news chief David Westin, b)
promising Letterman that ''Nightline'' would be history
whether Dave came over or not, and c) generally acting
like Koppel's the nerd at the barbecue.
end, Letterman will probably stay at CBS -- he won't want
to have ''Nightline'''s blood on his hands and the whole
episode may have been intended to raise his value with
his Viacom bosses. ''Nightline'' is toast but Koppel will
survive, albeit on a smaller scale. ''Politically
Incorrect'' is also toast, and Bill Maher won't survive.
And the executives at ABC will really have to rethink
their PR strategy.
How out to
lunch are the suits? An anonymous ABC exec was quoted as
defending the Letterman overtures by saying that ''[t]he
relevancy of 'Nightline' just is not there anymore.''
That gets it exactly backwards. A late-night network news
show that intelligently reports on political developments
around the world is, without question, more relevant than
ever right now -- it's simply that most American viewers
are hooked on irrelevance and want nothing to do with
information that matters. By courting Letterman, the king
of ephemeral irony, ABC is acting in the interests of its
shareholders -- and millions of viewers too scared to
look out the window.
you think Dave should do?
the cbs contract talks|
|We are starting to learn
more about the CBS contract negotiations, we now
know that one of the big problems with Dave resigning
with CBS is that he wants his company Worldwide Pants
to continue ownership of the show after he retires, Dave
is worried about the future and job security of his staff
when he goes. He wants them to still have a job when he
is no longer the host of The Late Show. We have
also learned that Letterman is asking for $31.5 million
per year, this is only up slightly from the $30 million
per year he currently makes. Negotiations between David
Letterman and CBS have picked up again, sources indicate
that the talks are progressive and the tone is calmer
than it was before. One Letterman adviser said, after the
first round of CBS negotiations last month, that they had
a crystallized feeling that CBS did not really care very
much about keeping Letterman.
The door is still
open and ABC, but CBS officials are trying to talk Dave
out of a move, sighting ABC's low prime-time ratings. Fox
has not been brought up yet, but it is likely that they
are preparing an offer for Letterman as well. Letterman
has been drawn to ABC because of their highly rated late
local news, for their young viewers, and for their
willingness to advertise the Letterman show in
prime-time, something CBS is barely doing now. The
Letterman camp is frustrated, and no doubt, so is CBS,
but for fans, for Dave, for the staff, for everyone,
let's hope everything works out.
On to Les
Moonves, president of CBS, Dave and him have had less
than a perfect relationship, you may remember that Howard
Stringer (former President of CBS) is the one who brought
Letterman to the network, Letterman and Stringer quickly
formed a friendship and to this day, David Letterman
sends Howard Stringer a gift on his birthday. With the
rocky relationship between Dave and Les, it was
surprising today to hear Moonves say this: "CBS is
proud to have been the home of David Letterman since
1993, he is truly one of the great talents of our time,
and we hope things work out."
one powerful dude|
magazine lists David Letterman as the 24th most powerful
celebrity! Other powerful talk show hosts
included on the list are Oprah, 9th, Regis Philbin, 22nd,
Rosie O'Donnell, 26th, Jay Leno barely in the top 50 at
#41, and Barbara Walters at 73rd. To see the full list
and details about every single celeb in the top 100, CLICK HERE
Guide also honors David Letterman
in their current issue as the #2 M.V.P. personality in
television, that issue is on stands now!
|If David does move to ABC,
here is what we can expect: The show will stay
in New York City, Dave calls it home and the East coast
loves him, the show will have the same name (Letterman's
Worldwide Pants owns the show, therefor owns the name),
new music, a new set, and a new studio. The Ed
Sullivan Theater would still be owned by CBS and you
can bet your life that they wouldn't sell it to ABC.
Sources say that the show would move to Channel 7 WABC
Upper West side studio, the same building where Dave's
friend Regis Philbin tapes Live with Regis and Kelly.
The new show would start around September of 2002, no
later than November, no earlier than July. It could be a
fresh start for Dave, a new network, a new-everything, if
Dave wanted, he could even change the format of the show,
ratings would be likely to improve because ABC would
advertise the show in their prime-time much more than CBS
does, ABC would also have a stronger nightly news
lead-in, in the top ten markets ABC has the #1 local
news. The move could also help the ratings of Good
Morning America, people shut off their TV's after
Dave is over, when they wake up in the morning it is
still set to ABC, bringing in more viewers for GMA,
Jay Leno has done wonders for the ratings at Today
in recent years.
|dave moving to
|ABC has made a serious
offer to get David Letterman to ditch the "Eye"
for the "Alphabet." David Letterman
has made it clear that he WILL NOT got o ABC if
his arrival leads to the departure of Ted Kopple. ABC is
hoping that Dave will boost their revenues, currently,
the combo of Nightline and Politically
Incorrect on ABC costs the network $10 million a
year in losses, where Letterman brings in tens of
millions for CBS. ABC has said that regardless of
Letterman's decision, Nightline will most likely
not continue, the future of Politically Incorrect
has been unclear since the beginning of this season,
renewal efforts were not helped by host Bill Maher's
statements about September 11th, calling the terrorists
"brave," many advertisers dropped their ads
from the show.
ABC investors seem to approve of the announcement,
Disney's stock rose nearly a dollar on Friday, March 1. A
Late Show staffer who spoke with Stupid Fan
Tricks had no comment on what was happening, and
David Letterman is on vacation all of next week, so it
could be up to a week before anyone hears anything from
the man himself on this deal, Kopple is back in
Washington but is avoiding the public eye for now, he is
said to be furious with ABC, and possibly Letterman. A
source at Nightline and from ABC News said they
had no previous knowledge up until late Thursday night
when the story broke, they are said to be shocked and
As of now, no one really has made an official statement,
but Stupid Fan Tricks will have any developments
as they happen.
Tonight Show: 6.79
million, Late Show:
4.71, Nightline: 4.26
Tonight Show: 2.6/11, Late
Show: 1.9/7, Nightline:
Tonight Show: 3.0/12, Late
Show: 2.1/8, Nightline:
|The latest Late Show
ratings are up from 2001's average of 4.3 million
viewers, the ratings for the week of January 28, 2002 are
with Jay Leno: 6.63 million viewers
with David Letterman: 4.70 million
viewers per night
18-49 age category Leno has a 2.4/10
and Letterman has a 2.0/8
25-54 age category Leno has a 2.9/11
and Letterman has a 2.1/8
|Contract talks between CBS and
David Letterman have began, this comes on the eve of
David Letterman's 20th anniversary in late night
television, Letterman's current contract is worth between
$15-20 million dollars a year according the Hollywood
Reporter and ends in late August or early September.
David Letterman is expected to extend his contract by
only 2 to 3 years, but CBS may urge Dave to extend his
contract by a larger length of time due to his rise in
ratings this season, the Late Show is up 12
percent in the key demo of 18-49 year olds over last
year, the show still remains second to The Tonight
Show with Jay Leno on NBC, but the ratings gap is
narrowing between the two shows. David Letterman has
hosted the Late Show since 1993, prior to that
he hosted Late Night on NBC and re-invented the
talk show format, that show started in 1982.
TVBarn.com has put up it's Ten
Best of 2001 list, included in both TV Barn's and
several critic's list is the Late Show .
TV Barn writes in part:
Last year, after his hour of need, Dave
Letterman shared his still-beating heart and won over
ours. This year, he opened his heart as never before,
spilling out his anger and grief over the attacks on
his adopted hometown. Audiences embraced Letterman as
the cranky but resilient New Yorker we suddenly found
endearing. On the eve of his 20th anniversary in late
night television, he's having his best ratings in
half a decade...
|David Letterman named 'Host
With The Most Influence in Pop Culter 2001' by E!
Thousand of E! viewers voted on the E!
website, the top five are as follows:
5. Jeff Probst, 4. Bill Maher, 3. Ann Robinson, 2. Jon
Stewart, 1. David Letterman
Late Show with David Letterman Sept. 17 episode
named 'TV Moment of the Year 2001' by 'TIME
TIME writes in part:
was dead, they said. Humor was unseemly. And
late-night comics, those unacknowledged legislators
of America, no longer had anything to say to us. Yet
it took a late-night comic to voice, movingly and
indelibly, how we felt.
|David Letterman is on 'The 25
Most Intriguing People of 2001' list in 'People
People writes in part:
from vacation a week after the Trade Towers attack, a
teary, halting Letterman started off speaking of
America's need to find the courage to muddle on with