Late night TV legend David Letterman has been laying relatively low since signing off the CBS airwaves in 2015. But the man who defined after-hours weirdness for an entire generation of kids whose parents thought they were asleep is returning to TV via a new Netflix show.
The streaming service announced the deal this morning, but has not yet revealed a name for the new Letterman show. Netflix says it will initially run for six, one-hour episodes that combine in-depth one-on-one interviews with “extraordinary people” and in-the-field segments.
Letterman was awkwardly thrust into the spotlight in 1982 as the host of NBC’s Late Night, where he could get away with just about anything because most of the world was asleep. Stupid Pet Tricks, the Guy Under the Seats, his signature Top 10 lists, and truly bizarre incidents like the on-air showdown between Andy Kaufman and Jerry Lawler:
Or Crispin Glover’s impromptu martial arts demonstration:
When the Tonight Show hosting gig was ultimately given to Jay Leno, Letterman hopped over to CBS to compete against Leno with a show that wasn’t quite as deliberately weird as Late Night, but which still retained some of that “these guys get paid for this?” quality.
Letterman retired from the CBS gig in May 2015, and has remained relatively quiet. He most recently left the house to help induct his pals in Pearl Jam into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
In a statement released today, he jokingly hints that maybe retirement wasn’t the best idea: “Here’s what I have learned, if you retire to spend more time with your family, check with your family first.”
The upcoming Letterman show, which is slated to debut in 2018, will join Netflix’s other high-profile talk show, Chelsea, hosted by Chelsea Handler. That series, currently in its second season, is released on a weekly-ish basis. It’s not yet clear if the shorter run of Letterman’s series will also be doled out weekly or if it will all be pushed online at once for the binge-watching masses.