Les Moonves better clear some time on his schedule for a call from Jerry Brown – though the California Governor might not like what the CBS boss has to tell him. On the other hand, NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo might be very happy because sources tell me that despite the efforts by politicians on both Coasts, the Late Show is almost certainly going to stay in NYC once Stephen Colbert takes over as host next year. Despite Cuomo adding his two cents today (see the Gov’s statement below) other elected officials’ efforts and the fact that CBS hasn’t announced a location for the new incarnation of the Late Show, it is highly unlikely that the franchise is leaving NYC’s Ed Sullivan Theatre. “Moving the Late Show just isn’t practical,” one insider said. “Plus there’ll be more than enough of a change with the handoff from Letterman to Colbert without piling more on unnecessarily.” Add to that the fact is that Colbert’s family is based on the East Coast and the historic Sullivan Theatre is a legacy that is very important to Moonves.
After David Letterman announced last week that he was retiring down next year, Moonves got the full court press from NYC and LA on wanting the new Late Show in their town. Now that Colbert has been proclaimed Letterman’s successor, the latest call is coming from higher up the political food chain. “We must ensure that the Late Show’s long and proud history of making the nation laugh from New York continues for years to come,” said NY’s Cuomo today. Pledging to call Moonves about the matter, the NY Governor’s direct intervention comes just two days after LA Mayor Eric Garcetti and Film Czar Ken Ziffren pitched the exec on the phone themselves about bringing the late-night franchise to the West Coast. Their call was one day after NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio urged the CBS boss to keep the Late Show in the Big Apple. Both followed a letter writing campaign from SAG-AFTRA card carrier Garcetti and New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito last week.
Of course, L.A., which already has a lot of late night skin in the game, could offer up incentives galore like NY did to snag The Tonight Show back after more than 40 years when Jimmy Fallon took over this year but even then I’m told it would be a very had sell with the powers-that-be. I joked earlier this week that the Governors would be getting involved in this so maybe Gov. Brown can offer CBS a deal they can’t refuse. Maybe. In the meantime, read NY Gov. Cuomo’s statement here:
With East Coast based host Stephen Colbert taking the reins of the “Late Show,” it’s clear we should keep the show where it belongs – here in New York. I am calling CBS President and Chief Executive Officer Les Moonves and urging that CBS continue the “Late Show’s” history of filming in New York’s own legendary Ed Sullivan Theater. Our state is a top destination for entertainment businesses to thrive and grow, creating jobs and economic opportunities for communities across the State, and late night programs are a major part of that success.