David Letterman

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David Letterman : biography

April 12, 1947 –

Additionally, Letterman invited the band Foo Fighters to play "Everlong", introducing them as "my favorite band, playing my favorite song." During a later Foo Fighters appearance, Letterman said that Foo Fighters had been in the middle of a South American tour which they canceled to come play on his comeback episode.

Letterman again handed over the reins of the show to several guest hosts (including Bill Cosby, Brad Garrett, Elvis Costello, John McEnroe, Vince Vaughn, Will Ferrell, Bonnie Hunt, Luke Wilson and bandleader Paul Shaffer) in February 2003, when he was diagnosed with a severe case of shingles. Later that year, Letterman made regular use of guest hosts—including Tom Arnold and Kelsey Grammer—for new shows broadcast on Fridays. In March 2007, Adam Sandler—who had been scheduled to be the lead guest—served as a guest host while Letterman was ill with a stomach virus.

Re-signing with CBS

In March 2002, as Letterman’s contract with CBS neared expiration, ABC offered him the time slot for long-running news program Nightline with Ted Koppel. Letterman was interested as he believed he could never match Leno’s ratings at CBS due to Letterman’s complaint of weaker lead-ins from the network’s late local news programs, but was reluctant to replace Koppel."" A&E Network, 27 April 2010. Letterman addressed his decision to re-sign on the air, stating that he was content at CBS and that he had great respect for Koppel.

On December 4, 2006, CBS revealed that Letterman signed a new contract to host The Late Show with David Letterman through the fall of 2010. "I’m thrilled to be continuing on at CBS," said Letterman. "At my age you really don’t want to have to learn a new commute." Letterman further joked about the subject by pulling up his right pants leg, revealing a tattoo, presumably temporary, of the ABC logo.

"Thirteen years ago, David Letterman put CBS late night on the map and in the process became one of the defining icons of our network," said Leslie Moonves, president and CEO of CBS Corporation. "His presence on our air is an ongoing source of pride, and the creativity and imagination that the Late Show puts forth every night is an ongoing display of the highest quality entertainment. We are truly honored that one of the most revered and talented entertainers of our time will continue to call CBS ‘home.’"

According to a 2007 article in Forbes magazine, Letterman earned $40 million a year. A 2009 article in The New York Times, however, said his salary was estimated at $32 million per year. In June 2009, Letterman’s Worldwide Pants and CBS reached agreement to continue the Late Show until at least August 2012. The previous contract had been set to expire in 2010, and the two-year extension is shorter than the typical three-year contract period negotiated in the past. Worldwide Pants agreed to lower its fee for the show, though it had remained a "solid moneymaker for CBS" under the previous contract.

On the February 3, 2011, edition of the Late Show, during an interview with Howard Stern, Letterman said he would continue to do his talk show for "maybe two years, I think."

In April 2012, CBS announced it had extended its contract with Letterman through 2014.

2007–2008 writers’ strike

The Late Show went off air for eight weeks during the months of November and December because of the Writers Guild of America strike. Letterman’s production company—Worldwide Pants—was the first company to make an individual agreement with the WGA, thus allowing his show to come back on air on January 2, 2008. On his first episode since being off air, he surprised the viewing audience with his newly grown beard, which signified solidarity with the strike. His beard was shaved off during the show on January 7, 2008.

Controversy over jokes about daughter of Sarah Palin

On June 8 and June 9, 2009, Letterman told a sexually-themed joke on his show each night about a daughter of Sarah Palin. Palin was in New York City at the time with her fourteen year-old daughter, Willow, and the jokes were said to be aimed at the daughter, never named, who was visiting New York City with her mother. Palin criticized the jokes, saying in a statement posted on the internet that "I doubt he’d ever dare make such comments about anyone else’s daughter," and "laughter incited by sexually-perverted comments made by a 62-year-old male celebrity aimed at a 14-year-old girl" is "disgusting." On June 10, Letterman responded to the controversy on his show by stating that the jokes were meant to be about Palin’s eighteen year-old daughter, Bristol, whose pregnancy as an unmarried teenager had caused controversy during the 2008 Presidential election, and that "(t)hese are not jokes made about (Palin’s) 14-year-old daughter. I would never, never make jokes about raping or having sex of any description with a 14-year-old girl." His remarks didn’t put an end to the public criticism, however, with the National Organization for Women, who supported Palin in a statement, noting he had given only "something of an apology." With the controversy not subsiding, Letterman addressed the issue again on his June 15 show, faulting himself for the error and apologizing "especially to the two daughters involved, Bristol and Willow, and also to the governor and her family and everybody else who was outraged by the joke."