David And The Other Goliath
David Letterman just celebrated his twentieth anniversary on CBS and his thirtieth year on network television. He almost died ten years ago. He almost retired five years ago. What drove him to keep going? Revenge.
Let’s face it, David Letterman’s humor comes from dealing with being different. It is his strength. When he was at NBC, the executives actually saw it as a weakness. They did not think he could keep the mainstream audience they had with Johnny Carson. Instead Jay Leno maneuvered and manipulated his way onto the Tonight Show. The executives saw Leno as having wider appeal.
What they did not understand was television’s mainstream audience fragmenting against new technology. Choosing Jay Leno as the lowest common denominator worked against them. They tried replacing Leno with Conan O’Brian. Again, Jay Leno maneuvered and manipulated his way back onto the Tonight Show. If there was ever any doubt as to Jay Leno’s character or David Letterman’s, it was clear to all at that point. Despite Letterman’s oddness, people liked him better. He wouldn’t stab you in the back. A pie in the face, maybe. Definitely expect a funny remark, a little quip.
So David Letterman stayed at his post. He kept creating content every day. He saved CBS from going under. In effect, moving his show and beating Leno may be his most elaborate and funniest bit. As long as Jay Leno was on the air, Letterman would keep going, constantly reminding everyone who was better. He has proved his point and will keep us laughing because that is what he does.
Dave’s funny, huh?
Copyright 2013 DJ Cline All rights reserved.