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.