There are multiple reports this morning that Craig Ferguson is poised to sign a new deal that will keep him as host of "Late Late Show" through 2014 and move him out of that closet to a much larger space at CBS Television City.
In other words, it's all good for Ferguson, who seemed in limbo as recently as three weeks ago after a New York Times piece said David Letterman was about to re-up but that Ferguson -- for reasons unclear -- was not.
The Times piece was certainly accurate, leaving everyone to read between the lines: Was Ferguson unhappy about his show, or his future at CBS, or -- perhaps -- did he believe that Letterman was about to retire and bequeath him the "Late Show"?
Maybe none of the above. Maybe all of the above. But: With a bigger studio and late-night TV genius Peter Lassally by his side (presumably) through '14, Ferguson is in an excellent position to take over 11:30.
Letterman's deal, also believed to be through 2014, has not been formally announced, but it may be simply that CBS wants to announce both at the same time. If that's true, I'd be expecting the news release Monday, for maximum coverage. (No reason to bury it over the weekend.)
If Letterman does go through 2014, the question becomes: How much longer? He'll turn 65 in April, and nothing should be read into that. He's as good and as vital as ever. No reason to think he can't go on and on and on. But does he want to? It's impossible to imagine Letterman not working -- he's not a retirement kind of guy -- but it's impossible to imagine CBS isn't trying to establish a smooth succession plan either. There's no real reason to go shopping for an eventual replacement because someone who's very good is already in-house; viewers know him, like him and are used to him.
So with this new deal, has CBS tacitly said, in effect, it's all yours, Ferguson, in a couple of years?
The bigger studio may be the key to this puzzle. Why build a bigger space when the current one -- tiny as it is -- is adequate? Possibly because CBS is laying the groundwork for a move to Los Angeles when Letterman hangs it up. That's pure speculation but reasonable speculation: The Sullivan Theater was refurbished to Letterman's specifications, and it's essentially bespoke - a space designed for his personality. There was always speculation that CBS wanted "Late Show" in Los Angeles, and in fact, promised Letterman a spectacular studio out there. But Letterman, a true-blue New Yorker, couldn't make the move. Hollywood was a turnoff, always has been for him.
But Ferguson has fit right in -- and guests are just a short drive away.
In any event, this is all spitballing on my part. Awaiting the release ...