David Letterman, in a rare post-retirement interview, tells NBC News he “couldn’t care less” about late-night television — including his Late Show replacement, Stephen Colbert, who has been struggling in the ratings.
The revelation was prompted by interviewer Tom Brokaw, who asked Letterman if he missed being on CBS every night.
“You know, I don’t,” Letterman said. “And it’s interesting. I thought for sure I would. And then, the first day of Stephen’s show, when he went on the air, an energy left me and I felt like, ‘You know, that’s not my problem anymore.’ And I’ve kind of felt that way ever since. I devoted so much time to the damage of other aspects of my life. The concentrated, fixated, focusing on that … it’s good now to not have that. I couldn’t care less about late-night television. I’m happy for the guys — men and women — there should be more women. And I don’t know why they didn’t give my show to a woman. That would have been fine. You know, I’m happy for their success. And they’re doing things I couldn’t do. So that’s great.”
Brokaw then asked if CBS asked for his input about his replacement, prompting Letterman to laugh. “No. Oh, no. No, they didn’t ask me about anything. They were just they were just happy I was going.”
Here’s a video excerpt of the interview from the upcoming On Assignment, a limited series from Dateline NBC that airs Sunday, June 12 at 7 p.m. Friday the 17th. Also in the interview, which took place in Letterman’s hometown of Indianapolis over Memorial Day weekend, Letterman spoke about Donald Trump and shares memories of Johnny Carson.