Whether your jaw dropped or you already had an office pool forecasting what day David Letterman would retire, his announcement roused predictable ripples of who would fill the prime NBC late night spot. Unlike Jay Leno's recent exit, which was his second in five years with the replacement host already chosen, Letterman's declaration never hinted at anyone he or the network was considering, the stuff of which rumor mills are made.
Although it seems that talent and demeanor should be the most important factors in the choice, in a world that can't help but try and "balance" everything so no one feels left out, cries of the need for diversity rang out. Why not replace the old white guy (Letterman's words) with someone more diverse?
When the dust started to settle, logic crept into the debate. Lots of comics are great guests or terrific at stand-up but can they interview every type of celebrity from authors to rock stars? Can they take the rigors of producing five shows a week? And, on the drier, more practical side, who's available AND willing to jump into the fray against relatively fresh faces on nighttime TV like Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel?
Letterman's contract isn't up until the end of 2015, so there's no rush. In the meantime, the contenders who've risen to the top of the discussion are as diverse as Letterman's Top 10 Lists.
10 Neil Patrick Harris
9 Chelsea Handler
8 Steven Colbert
7 Amy Poehler
6 Conan O'Brien
5 Tina Fey
4 Craig Ferguson
3 Ellen DeGeneres
2 Wanda Sykes
1 Jerry Seinfeld
After his megahit show ended, Jerry Seinfeld exiled himself from the limelight for several years. Now, with three kids ranging in age from 8 to 14 and his wife writing cookbooks and running her baby buggy company, Jerry has been popping up regularly over the past few years on talk shows, seemingly missing the showbiz world a bit. After so many years on a hit sitcom, a transition to talk show host may be difficult. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
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