NBC gave “The Tonight Show” to Jay Leno in the ’90s, and Dave Letterman left for CBS. That’s when things got bitter, says Marisa Guthrie, TV editor for the Hollywood Reporter.
“He couldn’t take a lot of the bits he created for late night at NBC. Because NBC owned the show,” she says.
At the time, one of Letterman’s popular bits was a segment called “Viewer Mail.” But because NBC owned the rights, Letterman had to rename it “CBS Mailbag.” And that, Guthrie says, is why Letterman created his own production company — so he could call the shots.
“Worldwide Pants is David Letterman.”
The company has had some big hits like “Everybody Loves Raymond,” but some other projects that never made it out of development, like a comedy with Harry Connick Jr.and a kid’s show intended for Nickelodeon.
But Letterman is the company’s single most valuable asset, notes James Dix, a senior media analyst with Wedbush Securities.
“Now a lot of it comes down to David Letterman himself,” he says.
As well as the library of shows Letterman has created over the years, Worldwide Pants may be thinking multi-platform for future opportunities in streaming and online video, says The Wrap executive editor Joseph Kapsch. Worldwide Pants says we’ll have to stay tuned for future plans; any new developments will be announced after the Letterman’s “Late Show” run ends Wednesday..
But one thing seems clear: whatever happens, Letterman will definitely be wearing the pants.
If you’re a member of your local public radio station, we thank you — because your support helps those stations keep programs like Marketplace on the air. But for Marketplace to continue to grow, we need additional investment from those who care most about what we do: superfans like you.
Your donation — as little as $5 — helps us create more content that matters to you and your community, and to reach more people where they are – whether that’s radio, podcasts or online.
When you contribute directly to Marketplace, you become a partner in that mission: someone who understands that when we all get smarter, everybody wins.
make public service
Thank you for doing your part!