Wednesday, July 10, 2002
New York After weighing an offer to jump to ABC, David Letterman said he ultimately felt his comfort with working at CBS was more important than the challenge of someplace new.
But the talk show host admitted ABC's overture was tempting.
"It's like dating," he said. "You show up at the prom with a girl and look across the floor and think, 'Maybe I'll have more fun with that girl over there.' It's human nature."
Letterman, who rarely gives interviews, talked to ABC's Ted Koppel, whose "Nightline" would have been displaced if the comedian accepted ABC's offer. It was broadcast early Tuesday on the premiere of "Up Close," an interview program being aired after "Nightline" until a new entertainment show starring Jimmy Kimmel begins next winter.
Koppel, who has missed few opportunities to tweak ABC's parent Walt Disney Co. since it nearly supplanted his show, did it again by booking Letterman.
"Since we always like to make our friends at Disney happy," Koppel said, "we considered who to invite for our first guest. That's when it struck us, the irony. They wanted Letterman, so here he is."
Although they talked about what Koppel called the "recent unpleasantness," the newsman never asked why Letterman seriously considered an offer that would have cost Koppel "Nightline."
Letterman, 55, said he was quite comfortable at CBS.
"It would have been an enormous challenge to go anywhere, not just ABC," he said. "I think at a certain point in a person's career ... the comfort and ease and the comfort of surroundings and environment are far more important than undertaking a new challenge."