4:18pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
CBS Negotiating New Deals With David Letterman, Craig Ferguson
David Letterman may be sticking around the Late Show a little longer.
CBS on Thursday confirmed that it is in negotiating with Letterman and The Late Late Show's Craig Ferguson to continue in their roles on the network's late-night schedule.
"As would be expected at this time, we're having conversations with both Dave and Craig about future years," CBS said in a statement. "There are no further details to announce at this time."
Rumors about Letterman's retirement circulated in February after the host joked to guest Howard Sterm that he planned to retire in "maybe two years." The following day, the show's executive producer, Worldwide Pants CEO Rob Burnett, said the bit was an "off-the-cuff" remark, noting Letterman had said something similar in 1987 and had no immediate plans to retire.
A New York Times report Thursday noted that a new two-year deal for Letterman could be imminent, with the network giving Letterman's production company Worldwide Pants the go-ahead to ink new deals with members of the Late Show's staff, producers and writers.
Should he continue, Letterman would surpass Johnny Carson's 30-year run as the longest in late-night TV history, the Times reported. Letterman's current two-year pact expires in August.
Letterman has been a valuable addition for CBS, coming to the network in 1993 following an 11-year stint at NBC. Next year would mark his 20th with the No. 1 network.
Letterman and frenemy Jay Leno continue to go head-to-head in late night. While The Tonight Show remains the most-watched series on late night, Late Show topped Leno at the end of the November sweep in the key adults 18-49 demographic. Letterman's 0.9 average rating bested Leno's 0.8 and marked Late Show's best competitive position in a November sweep among adults 18-34 since 1995.
Ferguson has hosted The Late Late Show since January 2005.