This Former SNL Star Said No To Replacing David Letterman

In 1992, Johnny Carson announced that he was retiring as host. Evening show on NBC, and completely hung up his boots from the night industry. The move marked the end of three full decades of running NBC’s program for Carson, who at the time became known as the “king of television at night.”

According to many, the most obvious replacement for Carson would have been David Letterman, who at the time was running his own Late Night with David Letterman, still on NBC. However, the network decided to go in a different direction and invited comedian Jay Leno to follow in Carson’s footsteps. Evening show


In light of this, Letterman left the network entirely and joined CBS to create a new Later show with David Letterman… This created a new vacancy in Late night on NBC, which was duly filled in by Conan O’Brien. But as it turned out, before this decision was made, SNL Star David Spade was offered the job, but he turned it down.

Spade felt he wasn’t ready for the world of late-night television

Spade revealed the details of this previously unknown story back in 2015 when he was promoting his book: Almost Interesting: Memoirs… In an interview with Esquire, he was asked if there were any interesting details of his life that he did not include in his memoir.

Portrait from the book
via: YouTube

“I was offered a [Late Night with David] Letterman when he left NBC. How the hell did I put it, didn’t put it in the book, I don’t know. But when I was looking through the final version of the book, I thought, “Oh shit, this happened!” It occurred to me that people might be interested to know what I was offered Letterman and did not. “

News of the offer was first broadcast to Spade by its producers on SNL, Bernie Brillstein, Lorne Michaels and Brad Gray. They informed him that they had spoken to NBC, and the network was interested in him taking the seat vacated by Letterman. The comedian was puzzled by this, as he felt that he was not ready for the world of late-night television.

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Spade reportedly gave up $ 1 million to become the new host of Late Night

“I couldn’t believe they were handing this to me,” Spade recalled. Esquire interview… “From the guy who couldn’t even get on the show before being offered it, do you know what I mean?” He just couldn’t imagine himself doing this job, and so he said no.

David Spade on the set of his 'Lights Out with David Spade'
via: The NY Times

“I thought, ‘I don’t know what the hell I’m doing! “He continued.” [producers] said, “You know, we’ll find writers for you.” I said, “I’ve always imagined maybe a sitcom or something. I want to try this first. I want to try this. And the talk show seems like the last job you would take. You have no other job. That’s all.

To make matters worse, Spade was reportedly offered a hefty sum of money to perform. When Brillstein, Michaels, and Gray first spoke to him, they apparently told him that NBC was willing to part with $ 1 million to make him their new host. Late night, “They were all stunned [when I refused]Spade explained. “They said,“ Well, it’s like a million dollars a year. This Letterman! “That was huge.”

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Spade has no regrets about giving up NBC for ‘Late Night’

Spade went on to say that Gray even offered to make a counter-offer on his own behalf, which would double that salary to $ 2 million. And yet the comedian was not convinced. At first he was surprised when they went up to Conan after himconsidering that his colleague may have been even less experienced than himself.

Conan O'Brien as host of NBC's Late Night
via: Global Herald

“When they came to Conan, I thought, ‘Oh, they really shook! “I mean, I love Conan to death and he wanted to be a performer, but I thought I had little experience. Conan had even less. But in the end he did it well. book; I didn’t want Conan to feel bad! “

Looking back now, Spade still feels like he made the right choice and has no regrets about ditching NBC for Late night… “I love what I’ve done and I think hosting is hard work,” he explained. “You really have to try to be funny and try to tell the story and mention the product at the same time. [even] just like a guest, let alone a host. It’s complicated.”

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