David Letterman Retiring: 13 Potential Late Show Replacements, From Colbert to Handler

It’s time to play Game of Thrones: Latenight Edition. With David Letterman officially retiring from the Late Show in 2015, his potential successors will soon begin laying claim to his vacant seat — but who will be left sitting when the dust settles?

RELATED | Video: David Letterman Announces Retirement

TVLine has assembled 13 possible replacements for Letterman, and we want to know who you stand with. House Colbert? House Handler? Choose carefully; latenight is dark and full of terrors.

Browse our 13 suggestions below, then cast your vote and drop a comment. Any we missed?



Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Williwasnt says:

    Last week wasn’t Lous’ SNL debut. It was his 2nd time.

  2. TVLine_FanGirl says:

    I’d stay up late to watch NPH!!!

  3. Jessica says:

    Wasn’t there a Louie episode along these lines? Lol

    • JLK says:

      That’s exactly what I was thinking. :)

    • Doug H says:

      That’s why I voted for CK to take over the show to make up for him being used during those episodes!! Good thing he had those stories his last season in 2012… that would have been horrible if he had shot them for this season!!

  4. Mike says:

    I would love to see any of the women in the list take over the job!

  5. Jillian says:

    What about Amy Poehler? She was a great guest on Seth’s first show and I could definitely see her in late night after parks and rec ends in the next year or so.

  6. Esaul says:

    I’d love to see Conan back on network Monday through Friday. However keep in house with Ferguson. He deserves it. Will he do well at 11:45? Probably not. But CBS isn’t NBC fortunately. NPH or Tina Fey. (Don’t think that would work with her relations toward NBC)

  7. Tran 2.0 says:

    My money’s on NPH.

  8. KCC says:

    Kevin Hart is hilarious, but I don’t think that he’s right for the Late Show. He would have to change his brand of comedy to be more suitable for 11:35 on a network channel. Plus he’s young, maybe in 10 years he would be perfect for it.

  9. Josh says:

    Aisha Tyler
    Chris Hardwick
    Joel Mchale

  10. As Lena Dunham tweeted, Retta would be an incredible choice.

  11. Riana says:

    How about we just get Chris Tucker. He’s basically an older taller version of Kevin Hart

  12. Be nice to have something a bit different. I’m very pro a female host, though I do believe Craig should have first shot if he wants it (and odds are Dave would like that given the history). I’m really not fan of Handler (and I have tried, probably more than I should have) but hey, she’s proven more popular than some other hosts of programs and it would offer an interesting opposite to Fallon, though Fey would be interesting (plus I do like her). Still in Fey’s case it’s hard to say if that’s what she’s interested in and if she’d willingly risk NBC’s anger. I wonder if Olivia Munn’s being considered by anyone, I find her funny…

    • Angela says:

      These are pretty much my thoughts. Craig and Jon are the best options out of the males (I’d also be perfectly fine with Colbert, as I love him, too, but I see Craig or Jon getting the job before him). But yes, a woman hosting a notable late night show like this would be a very refreshing change of pace. Tina’s my pick out of the women in the site’s list.
      Also, I don’t mind Olivia Munn.

  13. Tina Fey and Chelsea Handler are my picks…simply because I think a woman deserves a shot at that.

    • Winter says:

      I would say Tina for sure would be a good choice, but Handler is too polarizing and her brand of humor wouldn’t play on a major network. Aisha Tyler would be a great choice as well but I love Craig Ferguson so much give him the job.

  14. Ed says:

    Go Craigyferg!

  15. Walter says:

    Good grief! Can’t we get a different kind of show on at 11:35. Of course these are the networks that still run the same nightly news shows at 6:30.

  16. B.P. says:

    If Craig doesn’t get offered it (though I don’t think he would take it), Dave is going to look like a complete douche.

    • Dan says:

      Supposedly it’s in Craig’s contract that he gets to decide if he wants the gig before CBS offers it to someone else (of course, CBS can always buy that option and keep Craig where he is for a nice raise).

  17. I Heart Damon Salvatore says:

    I think Craig will be offered dibs, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him choose to stay where he is.

  18. Tina says:

    I LOVE Craig ferguson. But I suspect Craig is content doing his wacky thing late late. I mean, I don’t think an hour just chatting with Stephen fry would go over well at 1135

    Folks mentioned Aisha Tyler above. That is genius.

    Either way, a true heir of Dave needs a bit of bite

  19. El says:

    What about Ryan Seacrest, Anderson Cooper, or Ellen Degeneres?

    But I still would LOVE Aisha Tyler!!!

  20. David4 says:

    The Late Late Show’s not a bad gig, but a promotion to the Late Show would do wonders for Ferguson’s sleep schedule.

    Yeah because taping 2-3 episodes in an afternoon and piecing pre taped things from weeks before must be hard for him to sleep.

  21. Booger says:

    Lisa Lamanelli!

  22. Wesley says:

    This needs to be Craig’s! He deserves it by all means, his show is absolutely hilarious and it would bring more attention to him and the absolutely hilarious Josh Robert Thompson as Geoff the Robot.

  23. Rebecca says:

    I’m all for a woman host. But as a woman, I would be embarrassed if Chelsea Handler was the first late night woman host. She’s crude and just not funny or intellegent sounding.

  24. Alichat says:

    Hmm….wonder if this whole April Fool’s Day switcheroo with Drew Carey and Craig Ferguson was a test run to see how Drew did as a 12:30 host and if he’d like doing it.

  25. njartist says:

    Craig he would do a great job and create his own Late Show legacy
    Drew Carey or Dennis Spade for. Craig’s current gig if Craig moves to Late Night

  26. chloe says:

    Handler isn’t funny. Leave that 50 year old to her booze and pills.

  27. Faith says:

    What am i going to do? Watched johnny carson, david lettermam, my choice no woman….Its always been a man, and im saying this a woman.craig would be great.but underwood from the talk with her beautiful sense of humor i pick!!!!

  28. morinaluan says:

    the CBS has its own audience which is older than other networks… so I think that this audience will rather want Craig Ferguson than any other younger-skewing comedian… I don’t think Craig will want to host it though… he loves what he does, but CBS should offer it to him first, and then look for others…
    and if not Craig I’d like to see a new face, NPH, Tina Fey, maybe even better at 12:37… I don’t mind seeing Conan back at 11:35, but another cancellation would literally kill him…

  29. jason s says:

    now that howard stern has proved he can do network tv Id go with him! though they probably cant afford to pay as much as his sirius deal! other choices Robin Williams, garry shandling, chris rock,

  30. Dave says:

    I’m surprised no one has said John Oliver. I’m not sure how long he’s tied down at HBO, but he’s shown he can host the heck out of show, night after night.

    It seems like most of the names are of people who are too vulgar for a network show (Handler, Louis CK), aren’t as funny as they used to be (Seinfeld, Goldberg), or don’t have any experience in hosting a talk show (NPH, Tina Fey, Kevin Hart, Louis CK, and Seinfeld). It’s relatively easy for comedians to be funny every once in a while, but delivering a brand new stand up routine night after night is brutal. I also think that it would be crazy to get Leno to do it at his age. You’d be searching for a new host in 3-5 years.

    • JLK says:

      Louis CK may not have any experience actually hosting a talk show, but he has worked as a writer for both the Late Show and Late Night with Conan. He was nominated for an Emmy as part of Conan’s staff. I think he could do the job. I just doubt he’d actually want to.

  31. Ethel says:

    Please let it be Conan. Then I would not have to choose between the Tonight show and whoever replaces Letterman. It would be Jimmy Fallon for the win!

  32. Pat says:

    Anybody, but Jay Leno! I know Dave’s retirement is well over a year out, but I will miss him when he does leave.

  33. Jeff says:

    Anyone but Turd Ferguson, he just isn’t funny.

  34. Gerald says:

    WHAT! The poll put Craig Ferguson at the top of the list???? That is a terrible choice. He is an awful host.

    • Jan says:

      Nope, he’s a decent host with charisma and the stars have always said they love his show because it’s the most laid-back of them all!

  35. belle says:

    Maybe a tag-team effort? To mix it up it’d be a cool concept to juggle 2-3 different hosts…4 months of NPH, 4 months of Tina Fey and 4 months of Craig :) How awesome would that be??!!! Then they’d still be free to do other things and catch up on their sleep!

  36. Walrus says:

    Might as well forget Leno. Worldwide Pants will probably still produce, and I don’t think Letterman is going to let Leno anywhere near his baby.

  37. ErzyCass says:

    Aisha Tyler FOR SURE!
    2nd choice is NPH, I’m gonna need 9+ seasons of his brilliance and HIMYM repeats aren’t gonna cut it.

  38. D. Nolan says:

    None of the above.

  39. J. Norman says:

    I would rate the candidates in this order

    1) Seinfeld – But he is 60 now. Perhaps a little to old

    2) NPH – The right age and great at scripted fare, but can he consistently ad lib.

    3) Tina Fey – A good choice for a breakthrough for a woman, but I question whether she would want it long term, but a far better choice than Chelsea Handler (who would get old quick. Just ask the E network execs)

    4) Conan

  40. lindasays says:

    It’s well known that Dave is a perfectionist and a bit of a control freak.It’s also common knowledge that he brokered one sweet deal to come to CBS. Given the career heartbreak and disappointment Dave has suffered, and the fact Johnny Carsons’ opinion didn’t matter to the network, I wouldn’t be surprised if Craig has been locked-in to succeed Dave for some time now. They can’t give it to Kimmel until he mellows a bit!! At this point, with his Dave hero-worship, one has to fear he may literally die a go to Heaven.:)~ Get Craig and the gang in the Ed Sullivan theater, and put Kimmel in place to take over for Craig when the time comes. Jimmy should be able survive that.

  41. Tim says:

    I would like to see Craig Ferguson move to Lettermans spot, if that doesn’t happen. I would think Daniel Tosh would be excellent…

    Or Howard Stern, but that will never happen

  42. ... says:

    Leno WAS the RIGHT CHOICE to replace Carson back in 1991.

  43. CK from DC says:

    If recent talk show hirings are any indication, the next Late Night host will be 1) a man 2) over 30 who 3) once starred in SNL including 4) anchoring Weekend Update, but 5) has never hosted a talk show. Finally. It would help if he was 6) known to improvise, 7) had a formidable Internet presence.

    There can only be one.


  44. Wade Bruneau says:

    I’d really like to see Craig get the spot. Mabey he can even hire Jeff Peterson to take Paul’s place as band leader! Bones playing the old bones again, I can just see it now.

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