David Letterman: 'I Don't Know Why They Didn't Give My Show To a Woman'

David Letterman would like to see more girl power in late night, beginning with his old Late Show stomping ground.

In what NBC is billing as his first in-depth post-retirement interview, Letterman tells Tom Brokaw on Sunday’s Dateline (7/6c) that he “couldn’t care less about late night television,” before adding, “I’m happy for the guys,  the men and the women, there should be more women. And I don’t know why they didn’t give my show to a woman. That would have been fine. But I’m happy for their success.”

Letterman also confessed that on the day Stephen Colbert officially took over for him on the Late Show, “An energy left me, and I felt like, ‘You know? That’s not my problem anymore.’ And I’ve kind of felt that way ever since. I devoted so much time to [the Late Show] — to the damage of other aspects of my life. Concentrated, fixated, focusing on that. It’s good now to not have that.”

Asked whether CBS consulted him before choosing Colbert as his Late Show successor, Letterman said, “Oh, no. They didn’t ask me about anything. They were just happy I was going.”

Watch a preview of the Dateline Q&A below and then hit the comments with your reaction to Letterman’s candid convo.

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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28 Comments
  1. lechanoir says:

    The problem with his argument is obvious. If you can’t name the sex of the people responsible. You sure as hell won’t name an individual. Call as spade a spade “they” means you won’t own up to your own argument. This old guy benefitted from this for so long now he wants us to believe he is down with the cause. Tsssssk

  2. David4 says:

    He hasn’t aged well.

    I agree with him but it comes off as the old guy “get off my lawn!!!!”

    • E. D. Boddy says:

      I think the people who started using “get off my lawn!” as a means of mockery are now so old they’re saying it in reality. (which shows how old the cliche really is.)

      • David4 says:

        The cliche is incredibly old. I remember it from Dennis the Menace live action movie from the 80s I think when I was really young.

        I’m not really mocking him, but he’s in hugely oversized PJs for an interview.

        I still rather have old David Letterman than Steven Colbert. I much rather have Craig back though.

        • E. D. Boddy says:

          Fair point, and I’m not ragging on you so much as that’s become one of those tedious internet cliches, along with things like “Who?,” “Is that show still on?”, any gratuitous reference to Fox News, or people taking time to post that they “could (sic) care less” about whatever the subject is.

  3. Eric says:

    He “doesn’t care” about it, but yet he has an opinion about the fact that it should have been given to a woman., Sounds like he cares to me. You can’t say “I don’t care” and then give an opinion on an aspect about it. That doesn’t make sense.

    • Andrea says:

      Sometimes, though. people use “I don’t care” when they really mean “Others did not ask for (or consider) my opinion, so it doesn’t matter.” I think Dave’s “I don’t care” was really “CBS could have given a crap about my opinion.”

    • jj says:

      Of course you can not care about something but still have an opinion. Caring about something is emotion based. Opinions are not necessarily emotion based and usually better if they aren’t.

  4. Andrea says:

    I think that Dave’s heart attack years ago changed him (which he alluded to in the later years of his show. I don’t think he’s being the “old” guy inasmuch as he’s being the “I don’t care what anyone thinks anymore” guy. The Late Show gave him a lot, which he also has acknowledged, but he also has an 11 year old son and a wife. There are things in his life that are more important to him than late night tv, and I think his current appearance is a reflection of his desire to be different from the guy that he was on TV. I also think his comment about wanting a woman to succeed him was sincere, but he knew the reality. CBS was going to do whatever it liked. No surprise there.

  5. Tracy288 says:

    He probably does care because Stephen Colbert is doing so badly. His name was on that banner for a very long time and he was really successful, so yes, I would say he cares.

  6. pickles says:

    He turned into a stupid old liberal.

  7. IRON WILL says:

    Oh but Dave, I thought they ALREADY HAVE given your post to a woman…

  8. Morris S. Tyson, Sr. says:

    I miss Dave! After Johnny, he was the BEST at this type show!!

  9. Lucifer says:

    If he had named named a few female comedians that he felt would have been good replacements then it wouldn’t seem so foolish. But he can’t, he just decided to say a woman should have been hired for being a woman. He’s simply preaching to the quire that believes genitals and skin color are the only important factor into getting a job.

  10. He’s a very bitter man. I’m not sure why either.

    Clearly, he was once very good at his job, with many thinking he was the best. He wasn’t the best at the time of his retirement, or for several years prior. He never adapted, and sure, that’s why some love him, but comedians need to make changes due to an evolving America.

    Look at Louis CK. He went from very foul-mouthed stand-up and now he wants to make thought-provoking cable dramas (Louie is more drama than comedy.)

    Stephen Colbert was the best replacement out there. He’s smart, he has the same sharp wit Letterman once had, yet he has youthful enough style to match with the viral videos that have propelled Kimmel and Fallon to their recent success. The problem is that the show hasn’t figured out how to make those segments and viral videos yet.

    There are plenty of talented female comedians out there, but no one who has proven they can provide clean, broad humor and attract good ratings. That’s the problem. The argument can be made that you have to give someone The Late Show first to see if they could sink or swim, but again, you can’t risk a huge franchise on a gamble like that.

    If James Corden wants it, he’ll probably get The Late Show in 5 years tops, if not less time. I’m not sure if he wants to do the talk show game forever, but that option will be there. The Late Late Show is the better place to test a female comic.

  11. A. D. says:

    I miss Dave…Colbert sucks…can’t even stand to hear him talk.

  12. HAP says:

    To be a contrarian to some many posts before me, I do not see a bitter old man here. The beard is what makes him look old. He is genuinely happy that he is no longer caught up in that nightly grind.

    But what really ticks me off, is that although Dave nobly carried Les Moonves’ late night water for so many years, and had a long late night history before CBS, they did not seek his opinion for a replacement. That sucks.

  13. Diz says:

    I don’t care about it either Dave. I watched Colbert once. He was awful and I haven’t watched it since.

  14. kat0711 says:

    I miss him terribly. He’s left a huge void in my life and I feel like it’s a small taste of what losing a parent will feel like. I’m happy though when I remember his face glowing when talking about fishing with Harry and I’m glad he was smart enough to retire while he still has time to enjoy his son and wife. He seems to be very happy and relaxed now so I am glad he retired, I just miss him!

  15. kat0711 says:

    To all the people commenting that Dave looks so old now, do you not realize that even men (and that’s all men) wear tons of makeup on tv?

  16. I think CBS its regretting its decision to dump him.

  17. sugarfoot says:

    Miss him. Nobody left is really worth watching unless you want to see the guests.

  18. Rosie says:

    I think Stephen Colbert does a good job at what he does right now. What saddens me more, though, than the loss of David Letterman is the loss of the Colbert Report. On that show, Stephen Colbert filled a niche that no one else comes close to filling. He left that wonderful show to become kind of a generic talk show host, one of the crowd. I wish he had stayed where he was, but he certainly had the right to make a professional and personal move that brought him happiness, just as Letterman did. Still doesn’t take away the long for the old Colbert show (and the old Daily Show with Jon Stewart) though.