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Was ‘Late Show With Stephen Colbert’ Offered to Neil Patrick Harris First?

Late Show Letterman Neil Patrick Harris Stephen Colbert
CBS

The world of late-night talk shows seems more or less to have settled, now that Stephen Colbert will take the ‘Late Show’ from David Letterman and slotted ‘Daily Show’ alum Larry Wilmore to replace him in the ‘Colbert Report’ timeslot, but was Colbert really the network’s first choice? ‘How I Met Your Mother‘ alum Neil Patrick Harris says otherwise, claiming CBS first attempted to gauge his interest in taking over for Letterman.

Speaking on Howard Stern’s podcast, Harris confirmed the rumors that his name had been in the running to take over ‘The Late Show with David Letterman,’ and that he’d even taken a meeting CBS heads Les Moonves and Nina Tassler to gauge interest, before ultimately turning it down from disinterest. Granted, Harris doesn’t clarify when the meeting took place, as we know Colbert had also been in talks prior to Letterman’s official announcement, simply by virtue of CBS knowing the ‘Late Show’ host’s contract would soon be at an end.

From Vulture:

[Moonves and CBS entertainment chairman Nina Tassler] called me in and sat me down and asked if [Late Show] was something I’d be interested in doing. In that instance, I felt like I knew what my skillsets were and I kind of knew what it is that I wanted to do after [How I Met Your Mother] … so I was surprised he pitched me that idea.

Adding that he’d also been offered a potential 12:30 timeslot, if not for ‘The Late Show’ at 11:30:

I think I would get bored of the repetition fast, and the structure of it is so set. I don’t have any interest in doing monologue, commercial, sketch, guest, guest, guest, musical act, good night.

Harris also spoke about his potential interest in a sort or variety series, much in the vein that NBC will soon test with Maya Rudolph in the near future, but we wouldn’t imagine that to happen anytime soon, what with Harris’ critically-buzzing turn in Broadway’s ‘Hedwig and the Angry Inch.’ In the meantime, it’s at least of interest that CBS definitively considered Harris before signing on the dotted line with Colbert.

What do you think? Who would have made the best host for ‘The Late Show’ after Dave Letterman’s 2015 retirement?

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