BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. -- David Letterman is under contract to remain as host of "Late Show" through next year, but a tremendous endorsement by CBS chief Leslie Moonves Monday morning strongly suggests that an extension is likely, if not imminent.
"We love David Letterman .?.?. he's our guy .?.?. we don't like drama at 11:30 .?.?."
Here's the full quote: "Look, I consider David Letterman the best guy in late night. I think Leno is great. I think Kimmel is great. I think Fallon is great. We love having David Letterman. He's the dean. He's the best there is. Other than Johnny Carson, he's probably the best that ever was. We like the stability. We like the relationship we have with Dave. He's our guy and despite what people think, we don't like drama at 11:30"
OK, sure. What else would you expect Les to say?
Well, he could have said "it's up to Dave" or .?.?."we are well positioned for the future in late night" .?.?. or any other boilerplate pablum that would indicate that the boss is hedging his bets. But an outright endorsement of this sort says much more to me.
It says this: Letterman has indicated his desire to continue, and Moonves has articulated (to us) his desire to keep him as long as he wants.
This, of course, is all welcome news, if it is news. Letterman is as good as ever; "Late Show" as good as ever. And while Craig Ferguson, in my humble opinion, is as funny as anyone on television, later night or otherwise, he also doesn't seem like someone chaffing to move up an hour either.
Also this: Letterman and CBS may well be thinking 2009 redux, when Jay moved along, and "Late Show" moved up. It seems to me that "Late Show" remains equally well-positioned to add viewers opposite Jimmy Fallon's "Tonight."
By the way, I got a "no comment" when I asked about this.