David Letterman: Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel Didn't 'Push Me Out' of a Job

The late-night host also admits to The New York Times that he wasn't consulted about his replacement

Photo: Jeffrey R. Staab/CBS/Getty

The landscape of late night has inarguably changed since David Letterman began hosting Late Night in 1982 and then Late Show in 1993, but he’s not ending his 33-year run on a bitter note.

In an interview with The New York Times, Letterman, 68, is not upset about how the format he helped create has changed so drastically with the entry of energetic, Internet-savvy hosts like Jimmy Kimmel and Jimmy Fallon.

“They didn’t push me out,” he said. “I’m 68. If I was 38, I’d probably still be wanting to do the show,” Letterman added, going on to say that the format – “an older guy in a suit” – certainly still seemed “viable” when Jay Leno was still on late night. However, after Leno left The Tonight Show last year, Letterman was suddenly “surrounded by Jimmys,” he told the Times.

The host also acknowledged that he “recognized the value” of using Twitter and creating segments essentially for the express purpose of having them reach viral status on the Internet, an art which Fallon has perfected. However, Letterman “didn’t know what to say” when approached about it. “You go back to your parents’ house, and they still have the rotary phone. It’s a little like that.”

On Stephen Colbert’s Appointment

Finally, when it came to choosing a successor for his post, Letterman thought that it would be a “good opportunity to put a black person on, and it would be a good opportunity to put a woman on. Because there are certainly a lot of very funny women that have television shows everywhere.”

However, Letterman wasn’t consulted, he told the Times. While he was mildly bothered by that at the time – “Just as a courtesy, maybe somebody would say: ‘You know, we’re kicking around some names. Do you have any thoughts here?’ ” – he said it was to be expected: “I had made the decision [to leave] and I thought, ‘Okay, this is what comes when you make this decision.’ ”

While the host has not offered any advice to Stephen Colbert, who will take over Late Show hosting duties on Sept. 8, he’s not worried for the Daily Show alum: “We chatted when the announcement was made. And that was about it. I don’t think he needs – he’s not a kid. He’s not a beginner. He’s had pretty good success.”

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