Stephen Colbert Wasn’t David Letterman’s First Choice, But It’s Not Like CBS Asked Him Anyway

Photo: CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images

May 20 will mark David Letterman’s last episode of the Late Show, which he has presided over at CBS since 1993 — over 23 years ago. That’s a lot of time to reflect on! Letterman sat down with the New York Times and talked about his career, as well as his successor, Stephen Colbert, a decision the network had never consulted him on. Did that bother him? “Yeah, I guess so. Just as a courtesy, maybe somebody would say: ‘You know, we’re kicking around some names. Do you have any thoughts here?’ But it doesn’t bother me now.” Who would he have tapped as his successor?

I always thought Jon Stewart would have been a good choice. And then Stephen. And then I thought, well, maybe this will be a good opportunity to put a black person on, and it would be a good opportunity to put a woman on. Because there are certainly a lot of very funny women that have television shows everywhere. So that would have made sense to me as well.

Yes, that would’ve made sense.

CBS Never Asked Letterman for His Input