Late night was rocked this week when Chelsea Handler announced that she’d be leaving E! after her current contract expires and then just yesterday, in even bigger news, David Letterman announced his retirement from the long-running “Late Show with David Letterman.”
TheWrap is now reporting from a couple of sources that Handler had been in negotiations with CBS to do a late night show, possibly to replace Craig Ferguson in the 12:30 AM slot, before Letterman announced that he was retiring.
Although nothing has been confirmed by CBS or Handler herself, the comedian was apparently contacted following her announcement she would finish up her E! contract at the end of the year with the option either for a syndicated show or the 12:30 AM nightly slot. With Letterman stepping down, Handler may have her eye on taking over Letterman’s slot and reportedly she will be meeting with CBS chairman and CEO Les Moonves soon to discuss the options.
Handler has a number of other possibilities on her plate with offers from Sirius, CNN and even Netflix, but to get the Letterman slot, she’ll have to convince CBS that she can reach a more mainstream audience than the one she has on E! if she’s going to replace the beloved Letterman, who has been struggling to maintain an audience against the younger-skewing options in Jimmys Kimmel and Fallon.
Apparently, Craig Ferguson has the right to first refusal to take Letterman’s slot, but there’s no guarantee that CBS wants to offer him the job, especially considering how “The Late, Late Show” has not fared particularly well against its competition in the 12:30 slot including Seth Meyers’ recent replacement of Fallon as the host of NBC’s “Late Night.”
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