David Letterman: ‘I don’t know why they didn’t give my show to a woman’

‘They were just happy I was going’ … David Letterman says he was not asked for his opinion on who should replace him as Late Show host. Photo: Network Ten David Letterman’s most memorable momentsLetterman’s legacy as an also-ran

In a rare post-retirement interview, David Letterman says his Late Show producers should have considered replacing him with awoman.

A year after his exit and replacement by political satirist Stephen Colbert, Letterman said he didn’t miss the talk show he fronted for 33 years and couldn’t “care less about late night television”.

“You know, I don’t,” a bearded Letterman told the NBC, American television journalist Tom Brokaw in a preview aired of his first in-depth, televised interview since his departure.

“And it’s interesting. I thought for sure I would. And then, the first day of Stephen’s show, when he went on the air, an energy left me and I felt like, ‘You know, that’s not my problem anymore.

“And I’ve kind of felt that way ever since. I devoted so much time to the damage of other aspects of my life. The concentrated, fixated, focusing on that … it’s good now to not have that. I couldn’t care less about late-night television.

“I’m happy for the guys – men and women – there should be more women. And I don’t know why they didn’t give my show to a woman. That would have been fine. You know, I’m happy for their success. And they’re doing things I couldn’t do. So that’s great.”

Letterman’s hero, Johnny Carson, also considered himself fully retired from the late night television business when he signed off from The Tonight Show in 1992. Justifying his departure to his Late Show audience last year, Letterman said he wanted to spend more time with his 11-year-old son, Harry.

Letterman has done the occasional long form interview and signed on with the Emmy-winning documentary series, Years of Living Dangerously, which looks at climate change but has otherwise kept out of the public limelight.

Colbert’s fortunes have been mixed. He got off to a strong start in the late-night TV ratings race but has lately found himself behind in the ratings to Jimmy Fallon at NBC, who averages 3.81 million nightly viewers, but in front of ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel.

Asked if his network asked for his input about his replacement, Letterman laughed. “No. Oh, no. No, they didn’t ask me about anything. They were just happy I was going.”

Fairfax Media

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