Letterman, CBS close to deal for 3 more years

Mon Jun 8, 2009 10:27pm EDT
 
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By James Hibberd

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - David Letterman is near a deal to continue reading Top 10 lists on CBS for another three years.

The network is about to re-sign the Emmy-winning talk-show personality to continue hosting "Late Show" until 2011-12, sources said. The agreement will represent a two-year extension on his current contract, which expires in 2010.

CBS declined comment.

The decision to stay the course comes as rival NBC makes dramatic changes to its late-night lineup, moving Jay Leno to 10 p.m. in the fall and installing Conan O'Brien behind the "Tonight Show" desk as of June 1. During his first week on "Tonight," O'Brien bested Letterman in the ratings, though the gap between the shows narrowed as the week progressed.

Letterman, 62, has been with CBS since 1993, when he joined the network after leaving NBC's "Late Night" (where he was replaced by O'Brien).

Given the economic climate, CBS was able to negotiate a lower license fee with "Late Show" production company Worldwide Pants. Previous agreements gave the host a salary of around $30 million per year.

From September to date, Letterman has averaged 3.8 million viewers. That's up 6 percent from the year-earlier period.

(Editing by Sheri Linden at Reuters)

 
<p>Talk show host David Letterman reads a tribute to Johnny Carson at the 57th annual Primetime Emmy Awards at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles September 18, 2005. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith</p>