Although he was passed over to replace his friend and mentor Johnny Carson in the Tonight Show chair, David Letterman will have the last laugh. The Late Show host has agreed to extend his contract with CBS through 2014, making him the longest-tenured talk show host in history.
While terms of the deal were not disclosed, Letterman currently earns an estimated salary of $28 million. The linchpin of CBS’ late-night lineup choreographed a similar two-year extension in 2009.
Letterman will celebrate his 65th birthday on April 12.
Also renewing with CBS is Craig Ferguson, the madcap Scottish host of The Late Late Show. Ferguson’s show leads out of The Late Show weeknights at 12:37 a.m.
Per terms of Ferguson’s new deal, The Late Late Show will move to more accommodating digs at CBS Television City in Los Angeles. Ferguson regularly pokes fun at his boxy, poorly lit studio and his program’s parsimonious budget, going so far as to commission the creation of a robot skeleton sidekick, Geoff Peterson, back in 2010.
In keeping with the terms of Ferguson’s new deal, CBS will now co-produce The Late Late Show with Letterman’s production company, Worldwide Pants. Letterman has owned his late-night turf outright since he first joined CBS in 1993.
Before signing the new contract, Ferguson earned an estimated salary of $12.5 million.
“David Letterman is a late-night legend with an iconic show, and Craig Ferguson continues to evolve the genre in exciting and innovative ways,” said Nina Tassler, president, CBS Entertainment, by way of announcing the twin extensions. “These new agreements deliver ongoing high-quality entertainment for our audience and continued strength and stability for CBS in late night.”