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David Letterman will return to TV in a new Netflix series

David Letterman poses in the press room at the 75th Annual Peabody Awards Ceremony in New York. Letterman, who said goodbye to his long-running talk show two years ago, will say hello to TV again with a new show for Netflix. [Associated Press]

David Letterman poses in the press room at the 75th Annual Peabody Awards Ceremony in New York. Letterman, who said goodbye to his long-running talk show two years ago, will say hello to TV again with a new show for Netflix. [Associated Press]

David Letterman is preparing to return to television in his first ongoing series since stepping down as the host of CBS's Late Show in 2015.

Netflix is expected to announce on Tuesday that it has picked up a new show from Letterman, the comedian and broadcaster.

This series, which will run for six episodes next year, does not yet have a title or a fully fleshed-out format. Netflix said in a news release that the show would allow Letterman to combine "two interests for which he is renowned: in-depth conversations with extraordinary people, and in-the-field segments expressing his curiosity and humor."

Each hourlong episode will feature a long-form interview between Letterman and an individual guest, as well as segments in which he explores the wider world.

Letterman said in a statement, "I feel excited and lucky to be working on this project for Netflix. 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."

In his 33-year tenure as a late-night host, Letterman, 70, pushed the format well beyond the boundaries established by predecessors like Johnny Carson, the genial master of ceremonies of NBC's Tonight Show.

At NBC's "Late Night" (which he created and hosted from 1982 to 1993) and CBS's "Late Show" (from 1993 to 2015), Letterman helped introduce many innovative comedy bits, as well as an acerbic, cockeyed style that still permeates the genre.

He also appeared in segments taped outside his studios where he amused himself with explorations of quotidian life and interactions with everyday people.

Since his departure from Late Show, where he was succeeded by Stephen Colbert, Letterman has made only a handful of TV appearances. Last year he was a celebrity correspondent on "Years of Living Dangerously," a climate-change documentary series on the National Geographic Channel, for which he traveled to India and met with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (He also grew a copious beard.)

Following that experience, Letterman told The New York Times that he had a yearning to return to television.

"I keep saying, jeez, I still think I can do something," Letterman said at that time. "I want that epiphany that others have had. It's the same epiphany that I had about wanting to do a TV show when I was, like, 17."

It was not immediately clear if Letterman's Netflix series might include any of the signature elements from his past shows, or the colleagues he worked with on those programs.

Ted Sarandos, Netflix's chief content officer, said in a statement that he was looking forward to seeing Letterman "out in the wild, out from behind the desk and interviewing the people he finds most interesting."

Sarandos added, "We'll have to see if he keeps the beard."

David Letterman will return to TV in a new Netflix series 08/08/17 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 8, 2017 2:03pm]
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