David Letterman is near a deal to continue reading Top 10 lists on CBS for another three years. The network is about to re-sign the Emmy-winning talk-show host to continue hosting Late Show until 2011-12, sources said. The agreement will represent a two-year extension on his current contract, which expires in 2010.
The decision to lock Letterman in for a longer period comes as rival NBC makes dramatic changes to its late-night lineup, moving Jay Leno to 10 p.m. in the fall and the naming of Conan O’Brien as the new host of the legendary Tonight Show. During his first week on Tonight, O’Brien beat Letterman in the ratings, though the gap between the shows shrunk as the week progressed.
Letterman, 62, has been with CBS since 1993, when he joined the network after leaving NBC’s Late Night, upset that network brass had named Jay Leno host of the Tonight Show.
Given the ailing economy, CBS was able to negotiate a lower license fee with Late Show production company Worldwide Pants. Previous agreements gave the host a salary of around $30 million per year.
From September to date, Letterman has averaged 3.8 million viewers. That’s up 6 percent from the year-earlier period. (Photo: WENN)