David Letterman comes out of retirement with new Netflix show

Legendary late-night show host David Letterman will be returning to television, but it won’t be on a regular nighttime slot as he did for 33 years.

Letterman will be hosting an hour-long, six-episode show on Netflix, the Los Gatos-based company announced on Tuesday. The seventy-year old comedian will be interviewing a singular guest each episode. The show is set to premiere in 2018.

Letterman retired in 2015,  after hosting a total of 6,028 episodes  for Late Night on NBC and The Late Show on CBS.

“I feel excited and lucky to be working on this project for Netflix,” said Letterman. “Here’s what I have learned, if you retire to spend more time with your family, check with your family first. Thanks for watching, drive safely.”

For Netflix, it is the latest coup in its wide-ranging efforts to snatch the biggest names in film and television into its stable.

On Monday, Netflix announced it made its first-ever acquisition of Millarworld, an independent comic book publisher which created recent Hollywood blockbusters Kick-Ass and Kingsmen.

In the past week, Netflix announced a slew of announcements of creating original series for China, India, Mexico and Japan to attract international subscribers. Netflix surpassed the 100 million subscriber mark in its latest quarter, and for the first time, the international subscriber base was larger than its U.S. counterpart.

Letterman’s yet-to-be-titled show will not be produced directly from Netflix. Instead, the show is produced by RadicalMedia — which previously worked with Netflix to create What Happened, Miss Simone?Oh Hello on Broadway and Abstract: The Art of Design — and Letterman’s own company, Worldwide Pants.

Letterman said he yearned for the television spotlight after a cameo he made on the National Geographic documentary series “Years of Living Dangerously,” according to The New York Times. As a celebrity correspondent for the climate change-focused series, Letterman went to India to interview its Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“I keep saying, jeez, I still think I can do something,” said Letterman. “I want that epiphany that others have had. It’s the same epiphany that I had about wanting to do a TV show when I was, like, 17.”

The new show seems to have the basic interviewing format that Letterman made his career in late night, but the setting will be outdoors, according to the Netflix press release.

It is unclear if Paul Shaffer, Letterman’s longtime sidekick and band leader on The Late Show, will join.

It is also unsure Letterman will keep the unruly, white beard he has grown over his retirement years.

“David Letterman is a true television icon, and I can’t wait to see him out in the wild, out from behind the desk and interviewing the people he finds most interesting,” said Ted Sarandos, chief content officer for  Netflix. “We’ll have to see if he keeps the beard.”

Photo: In this Sept. 18, 2016, file photo, David Letterman stands near victory lane and watches celebrations after the IndyCar auto race in Sonoma, Calif.  (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)


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