NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Less than a day after David Letterman announced his retirement, the mayor of Los Angeles declared that he wants the “Late Show” to move out of New York altogether.
As CBS 2’s Jessica Schneider reported Friday, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti wasted no time firing off an open letter to CBS Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Les Moonves, encouraging him to relocate “Late Show” to the West Coast, saying “I am excited for the opportunity to encourage you to bring CBS’ next late night show to our city — the entertainment capital of the world.”
Garcetti spoke further about the incentive letter, saying “Los Angeles can produce the best shows at the best cost, and we want to make sure people continue to see that. It would be a great shot in the arm for the city.”
Garcetti’s push came after “Tonight” moved back to New York after decades on the West Coast.
But New York political leaders immediately put up a fight to keep the “Late Show” where it is.
City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito also wrote an open letter to Moonves, urging CBS to keep the popular program in New York.
“New York City has always been the home of the ‘Late Show’ and nothing could be better for the future of the program than to continue in that tradition when the torch is passed to a new host,” Mark-Viverito said in the letter. “What better place for the ‘Late Show’ than the city that never sleeps?”
Mayor Bill de Blasio called “Late Show” a quintessential New York institution.
“I will be reaching out to CBS Chairman Les Moonves to urge him keep the ‘Late Show’ at the only home its ever known: at the Ed Sullivan Theater, right here in New York City.”
Gov. Andrew Cuomo released his own Top Ten list Friday, listing why Letterman is a New York legend.
No. 2 on the list said, “2. He never left the Empire State for that other coast,” Schneider reported.
Many New Yorkers agreed the show should stay in New York City.
“It should stay in New York, that’s part of the appeal. I’m from New York, I’m for everything New York, so my opinion is going to be a little biased,” said Queens resident Edgar Guzman.
“Didn’t it start in New York? Yeah. It lived here, let it die here,” said Melissa McLean.
Besides the Top Ten lists, the monologue and occasional wild visit from Bill Murray, one facet of Letterman’s show that will be most sorely missed is his ability to do sharp, even hard-hitting interviews with people in the news.
His first show after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks was memorable for his reaction. It’s hard to think of anyone who has the gravitas or ability to fill the role that Letterman fills.
CBS Corp. and Moonves will have time to think of that over the next year, much of which will be spent celebrating Letterman’s legacy.
And whatever the case, Letterman’s departure from the late-night realm won’t just end an unmatched run on television. It will also close the book on an era reaching almost to the birth of TV.
During a taping of Thursday’s edition of “Late Show,” Letterman startled his audience with the announcement that he will step down in 2015, when his current contract with CBS expires.
Letterman said he called Moonves earlier Thursday to break the news.
“I phoned him just before the program and I said ‘Leslie, it’s been great, you’ve been great, the network has been great, but I’m retiring,’” Letterman said.
Letterman said his longtime band leader Paul Shaffer would also be retiring.
He specified no end date, saying he expects his exit will be in “at least a year or so, but sometime in the not too distant future — 2015, for the love of God, Paul and I will be wrapping things up.”
What he’ll be wrapping up is three decades on the air — the longest tenure of any late-night talk show host in U.S. television history — since he launched “Late Night” at NBC in 1982.
PHOTOS: Letterman Through The Years
But more than that, he’ll be ending a lineage of late-night hosts who pioneered talk and humor in the wee hours — Johnny Carson, of course, and, before him, Jack Paar and especially Steve Allen.
Letterman jumped to CBS in 1993 after NBC went with Jay Leno as the new host of the “Tonight Show.”
Along with his network, Letterman thanked “all of the people who have worked here, all of the people in the theater, all the people on the staff, everybody at home — thank you very much.”
“For 21 years, David Letterman has graced our network’s air in late night with wit, gravitas and brilliance unique in the history of our medium,” Moonves said. “It’s going to be tough to say goodbye.”
Since premiering with “Late Show” in 1993, Letterman, who turns 67 next week, has reigned at Broadway’s Ed Sullivan Theater, a historic venue nearly a century old that was famously home to “The Ed Sullivan Show.”
The Los Angeles-based Leno, 63, retired from “The Tonight Show” this year, clearing the way for “Late Night” host Jimmy Fallon to move up to that TV institution.
After his announcement Thursday, celebrities and others took to Twitter to praise Letterman’s legacy.
ABC host Jimmy Kimmel tweeted that Letterman “is the best there is and ever was.”
Ellen DeGeneres tweeted “It’s been 31 incredible years. Television won’t be the same without you, Dave.”
Syndicated late-night host Arsenio Hall tweeted “There’s a tear under the CBS eye! David Letterman – Simply The Best!!!”
Even President Barack Obama tweeted a picture and said “There are more than 10 reasons David Letterman will be missed.”
But now, who replaces Letterman becomes the new guessing game. In the wings as a prospective heir: Craig Ferguson, host of “The Late Late Show,” which has followed Letterman, since 2005.
Another possibility could be Drew Carey, a hit on CBS daytime with “The Price is Right” who recently traded jobs for a day with Ferguson.
Many New Yorkers weighed in Friday morning.
“Tina Fey, bring Tina Fey,” one woman told CBS 2’s Scott Rapoport. “We should have a female host.”
“Either John Stewart of Steven Colbert,” another woman said.
“To be honest, there would be no one who could actually replace Letterman,” one man said.
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