More Details On David Letterman's TV Comeback

Aug 9, 2017

Isn't this great news? David Letterman will return to TV next year in a Netflix series.

Letterman, who ended his 33-year late-night career two years ago, will do six one-hour shows featuring a long conversation with a single guest, and "in-the-field segments in which he will explore topics on his own," Deadline says. 

Does "exploring topics on his own" include showing how watermelons or light bulbs hit the ground from a rooftop? Or items you can buy in the "Just Shades" store? Or delivering a fruit basket to Netflix headquarters?

David Letterman in 1999.
Credit CBS Television

Since he ended his CBS' "Late Show" on May 20, 2015, Letterman says he has been asked often what he will do next. His idol, former "Tonight Show" host Johnny Carson, never did another series after retiring in 1992.

"Everybody would come to me and say, 'What do you want to do?' And I kept saying, 'Well, jeez, I did what I wanted to do,'" Letterman, 70, told the New York Times. The commitment to do six shows for Netflix "feels like exactly what I want at this stage of my life," he told the Times.

In the Netflix announcement, he said, "I feel excited and lucky to be working on this project for Netflix. Here's what I have learned: If you retire to spend more time with your family, check with your family first. Thanks for watching. Drive safely."

The series will be produced by Letterman's Worldwide Pants company and RadicalMedia, the company behind Netflix's "What Happened, Miss Simone?," "Oh Hello on Broadway," and "Abstract: The Art of Design." He'll join the impressive list of stars signing with Netflix - Jerry Seinfeld, Amy Schumer, Dave Chappelle, Ellen DeGeneres, Chris Rock and Louis C.K.

Will there be a Barbasol intervention before the Netflix tapings? Or will Dave keep the Santa Claus beard he was wearing at the Reds game Sunday that he attended with Bill Scheft, his long-time comedy writer? That's uncertain.

"David Letterman is a true television icon, and I can't wait to see him out in the wild, out from behind the desk and interviewing the people he finds most interesting. We'll have to see if he keeps the beard," said Ted Sarandos, Chief Content Officer at Netflix.

Letterman told the Times, "Between you and me, the beard is to cover up botched plastic surgery. The beard has to stay. It would be hideous. Children would be frightened."

Before the Netflix debut, Letterman will return to TV later this year on PBS. He's receiving the Mark Twain Prize in a ceremony being taped Oct. 22 at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.

When the award was announced in May, Letterman said in a statement, "This is an exciting honor. For 33 years, there was no better guest, no greater friend of the show, than Mark Twain. The guy could really tell a story."