The weatherman who made up fictional cities during his weatherreport and got a talkshow, now retires. But Dave Letterman represents more than a musical mindset. He’s easily as much a pivotal figure as Bob Dylan for American late night television. Letterman’s shows have garnered both critical and industry praise, receiving 67 Emmy Award nominations, winning 12 times in his first 20 years in late night television. The main competitor of The Late Show is NBC’s The Tonight Show, which was hosted by Jay Leno for 22 years, but from June 1, 2009, to January 22, 2010, was hosted by Conan O’Brien. 7 Million (older) television watchers choose Letterman. No matter what the ratings said, Dave Letterman was talked about the next morning, or he went viral on the damn web. As has been noted, the current talk show ratings leader, Jimmy Fallon, isn’t a talker. And he, along with producer Lorne Michaels, seem to appreciate what a “talk show” must do in the cybernetic age to survive: keep the “talk” to a minimum.
Again, it is no coincidence that both Jon and Letterman quit. Like anyone, Letterman had some problems: An alcohol problem for 20 years, stalkers and a child just a few years ago (sic). Here we enjoyed his Bush moments, with great presidential moments. Chris Rock said it well in his last show: I’m happy you got replaced by yet another white guy!