Take heart, Ted Koppel — David Letterman won’t be moving to ABC after all. Letterman told the audience at Monday afternoon’s ”Late Show” taping that he plans to stay at CBS, the Associated Press reported. The host had been away on a St. Bart’s vacation when word leaked that he was considering an offer to displace Koppel’s ”Nightline” at ABC; Monday was his first taping since that news broke. ”This is how strange my life’s been the last week — earlier today, I got a call offering me the ‘Tonight’ show,” Letterman joked at the taping, according to the AP.
ABC is said to have offered the host $31 million a year and his own studio in Times Square, while CBS countered with a slightly lower offer. But some reports suggested that Letterman was reluctant to threaten the highly regarded ”Nightline” and that CBS was offering heavy promotion on its corporate brethren at MTV and VH1. (A CBS spokesperson couldn’t be reached for comment, and an ABC rep had no comment).
Rob Burnett, president of Worldwide Pants, Letterman’s production company, told the AP that the host’s nine-year stint at CBS was ”too much to walk away from” and that Letterman was flattered by the attention from both sides. Meanwhile, Jon Stewart, who had been discussed as a Letterman replacement at CBS, could theoretically still pose a threat to ”Nightline” at ABC.