These guys just can’t stay away.
Netflix announced on Tuesday that David Letterman will return to television next year with a six-part series for the streaming giant, marking his first TV-hosting gig since leaving CBS’s “The Late Show” in 2015. Each hour-long episode will include a “long-form” interview with a “singular guest,” according to a release, and the comedian will step away from the studio for “in-the-field” segments as well.
“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, Netflix’s chief content officer, in the release. “We’ll have to see if he keeps the beard.”
Letterman is the latest in a string of former talk show hosts to find his way back to television. Jay Leno’s CNBC Web series “Jay Leno’s Garage” delves into his love of cars and motorcycles. HBO announced last month that it will premiere a new Jon Stewart stand-up special, after initially developing his animated shorts project, which was eventually canceled.
Letterman was the longest-running late-night host in television history, spending 11 years on NBC’s “Late Night” and 22 on “The Late Show,” which, together, totaled 6,028 episodes. After announcing his departure from the CBS series, Letterman told the New York Times in April 2015 that a return to television would depend “on the number of bridges I’ve burned.”
“I don’t know how long this has been going on, but Jane Pauley is now on the CBS ‘Sunday Morning’ show,” he said. “Perfect fit. So I thought, by God, good for Jane. That’s a lovely thing for her to have now. So maybe one day, something of that level will happen to me.”
Netflix has cornered the comedy market as of late, drawing big names such as Louis C.K., Dave Chappelle and Sarah Silverman. Though many of those deals have resulted in stand-up specials — the platform now releases, on average, one each week — longer series have been picked up as well. According to Deadline, Jerry Seinfeld inked a massive deal with Netflix earlier this year to stream his Emmy-nominated Web series “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee,” produce two stand-up specials and develop both scripted and non-scripted programming.
Streaming services have experimented with talk shows before. The second season of Netflix’s “Chelsea,” hosted by Chelsea Handler, and the first of “Bill Nye Saves the World,” helmed by the beloved Science Guy, both premiered in April and feature celebrity guests. Hulu announced in late March that it had picked up Silverman’s political comedy show “I Love You, America,” according to Variety. Similar to Letterman’s project, it will consist of studio and field interviews.
“I feel excited and lucky to be working on this project for Netflix,” Letterman said in the release. “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.”
This post has been updated.