CBS Making Letterman Take a Pay Cut?

Jun 9, 2009  •  Post A Comment

Six months after CBS opened up talks with David Letterman about extending his contract, the network appears to be closing in on a new– and possibly smaller deal with its “Late Show” host.

Letterman has agreed to stay on through the 2011-2012 season, the Hollywood Reporter says. His current agreement expires next year.

The Reporter says CBS has negotiated a lower license fee for "Late Show" with Letterman’s production company, Worldwide Pants. How that will impact Letterman’s take-home pay is unclear, but since Letterman owns Pants, the effect is the same: Dave’s getting less money.

The agreement has been expected for some time now. Broadcasting & Cable broke the news in January that CBS had opened negotiations with the Letterman camp.

The talks have never been about whether CBS wanted to re-up Letterman. Even though his “Late Show” has long lagged behind NBC’s late night telecast, Letterman’s broadcast remains very profitable for the network.

There also hasn’t been any buzz that Letterman would jump to another network.

Instead, the only question surrounding Letterman was whether he wanted to continue the late night grind, and, if so, for how long.

But even that wasn’t much of a mystery: Letterman told Rolling Stone last year that he wanted to stick with “Late Show” beyond 2010.

“The way I feel now, I would like to go beyond 2010, not much beyond, but you know, enough to go beyond,” he said. “You always like to be able to excuse yourself on your own terms. If the network is happy with that, great. If they wanna make a change in 2010, you know, I’m fine with that, too.”

–Josef Adalian

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