With his new monthly Netflix talk show, David Letterman is returning to the limelight — and bringing former president Barack Obama with him.
Obama will be the first guest on “My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman,” set to begin Jan. 12, Netflix announced Friday. The interview will be among the few Obama has given since leaving office early last year.
It’s a return to form for Letterman, too, who has said he does not miss hosting the “Late Show with David Letterman.” Since its final episode in May 2015, he’s avoided watching the show — now hosted by Stephen Colbert — or visiting as a guest. He has, however, been on Howard Stern and a few podcasts. He spoke at the dedication of a statue for retired Colts quarterback Peyton Manning in Indianapolis in October and accepted the prestigious Mark Twain Prize for American Humor at the Kennedy Center in Washington later that month.
Letterman, 70, signed a deal last year to develop the six-episode Netflix show, for which he will be paid $2 million per episode.
“I had a show for a long time,” Letterman said in his new show’s trailer. “Then I didn’t have a show for a long time — and I can’t tell you how great it is to be out of the damn house. Wow.”
In addition to Obama, other guests on the show include George Clooney, Malala Yousafzai, Tina Fey, Jay-Z and Howard Stern. In each hour-long episode Letterman will have a long-form conversation with the guest across a range of topics.
“You never know when you might learn something,” Letterman said of his new show. “And that’s what this is about for me. These are people that I admire.”
The new show is part of Netflix’s continuing efforts to produce its own shows. Not only did the company pull Letterman out of retirement, but it bought Jerry Seinfeld’s “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” series last year and released two Dave Chappelle stand-up specials on New Year’s Eve. Netflix’s chief content officer, Ted Sarandos, told Variety that the company wants to increase its original offerings until it makes up half of the service’s entire library. It aims to spend $7 billion on content next year — up from more than $6 billion over the past year and $5 billion in 2016.
Sarandos said he hopes Letterman’s show will attract more subscribers.
“Some people will join Netflix to watch that,” Sarandos told New York Times reporter Andrew Ross Sorkin at the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit in Los Angeles, according to Yahoo Finance. “There’s some people who will not quit because the show’s coming on next month.”
Obama’s first interview since leaving office was with Prince Harry, who was serving as a guest host on BBC Radio 4’s popular “Today” program. Recorded in the fall and aired Dec. 27, the former president said that leaders shouldn’t use social media to stoke division. He did not mention President Trump, who frequently tweets, by name.
“All of us in leadership have to find ways in which we can re-create a common space on the Internet,” Obama said.