As expected, David Letterman’s celebrity-studded final night hosting Late Show ran long. Very long. Instead of the usual nip-and-tucking a network would do on a show that runs long, so as to keep programs running on-schedule-ish, CBS has made the call to let the show run long. Very long. Like pushing 17 minutes long-ish. Because, in round numbers, the network decided nobody who’s wrapping up a groundbreaking and record-setting 33-year career like Letterman’s should should have to worry on his last broadcast about coming in on time. Good for CBS. Set your DVRs accordingly.
It, obviously, will push the start time of tonight’s Late Late Show With James Corden.
In marked contrast to when NBC was saying so-long to Johnny Carson, pushing Letterman out the door, pushing Conan out the door, or pushing Leno out the door – twice – CBS nearly every step of the way has shown TV viewers how to do this right. Among other points, Letterman also got to pick his end date; CBS CEO Leslie Moonves having said he was not going to be the guy who told David Letterman when to bow out (Letterman, in turn, gave Moonves a few minutes’ notice, on April 3, 2014, that he was going to announce it on his show).
NBC also allowed Letterman to run noticeably long on his final hosting appearance for that network in 1993, though it was a matter of letting Late Night run long, not Tonight Show, and NBC had just passed Dave over for the Tonight show gig, for which it had gotten a world of bad press. When Johnny Carson ended his run on Tonight Show, that farewell broadcast ran two minutes long.