David Letterman May Oust Johnny Carson as the Longest-Running Host in Late Night

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Last February, we reported that David Letterman had let it slip to Howard Stern that he had “maybe two years” left in him as the host of CBS's Late Show. Today, The New York Times reports that Letterman has kept to his word, as he is very close to extending his contract with CBS through 2014.

That would bring his total number of years in late night to a staggering 32 (11 on NBC, 21 more on CBS), a run two years longer than Johnny Carson’s legendary Tonight Show stewardship. And the date brings a nice synergy to their late-night legacies: Dave will be 67 in 2014, the exact age Carson was when Bette Midler sang him off the air with that classic rendition of “One For My Baby.”

Of course, there’s the question of whether or not we want another two years of Letterman, whose slow march into his twilight years has at times been hard to stomach (especially with fan-favorite Late Late Show host Craig Ferguson poised to inherit Letterman's spot). Letterman's attitude toward guests he deems beneath him has devolved to outright disdain, and watching him fawn and drool over hot female guests can be downright icky. But the guy’s a comedy legend, and his mind’s still as sharp as his temperament prickly. There’s always fatherhood—son Harry will be nine this year—to soften the edges. Let’s just hope he finally works out his Leno issues sometime in the near future.


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