This is not the time for CBS Chief Executive Leslie Moonves or Entertainment Chairman Nina Tassler to go on a diet.
That’s because New York City and Los Angeles are going to be wooing them to be the home of Stephen Colbert’s new late-night show, and that will probably mean a lot expensive meals at five-star restaurants.
When CBS said Thursday that Colbert was taking over for David Letterman as host of “The Late Show” next year, it didn’t mention where the show will be based. While Colbert’s current Comedy Central show is produced in New York and he was born in Washington, D.C., and raised in South Carolina, the network is said to be willing to listen to pitches and be wooed.
Because NBC’s “Tonight Show” has moved from Burbank to New York to accommodate Jimmy Fallon, there is a desire at L.A. City Hall to fill the void. Last week, after Letterman said he was stepping down, Mayor Eric Garcetti wrote Moonves to say he was “excited for the opportunity to encourage you to bring CBS’ next late night show to our city.”
To be sure, even with NBC’s “Tonight Show” in the Big Apple, there is no shortage of late-night programs based in Los Angeles. ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel, TNT’s Conan O’Brien and CBS’ Craig Ferguson all produce their shows out of Los Angeles.
While at one point L.A. might have been the better locale to book big-name Hollywood stars as guests, that is no longer the case. Movie and TV production is plentiful on the East Coast and Letterman has not had any problems getting so-called A-listers to appear on his show.
Also, unlike New York, Los Angeles doesn’t have the carrot of a tax credit to dangle to CBS to help persuade it to move “The Late Show” to the West Coast.
Another factor is that CBS already has a natural home for Colbert, the Ed Sullivan Theater, which it owns. Of course, if Colbert moves CBS can always rent the theater out.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio has also been vocal about his desire to keep “Late Show” there.
Other potential homes for Colbert could be New Jersey or Connecticut. However, that would mean pretty high car service bills for CBS.
Follow Joe Flint on Twitter @JBFlint.