Neil Patrick Harris Was Offered 'Late Show' but Turned It Down for More "Variety" (Wink!)
Remember back when David Letterman announced that he'd be leaving The Late Show, and we were all like, "NPH, puh-leeez?" How could CBS not be vying for the mega-talented, EGOT-worthy artist formerly known as Barney Stinson? Well, here's an interesting factoid for ya: Neil Patrick Harris was asked about the Late Show , but he turned it down. Why is that? Well...he has his eye on other things...
According to Harris, who spoke to Howard Stern about all of this, this is what went down:
[Les 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 skill sets 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."
But Harris wasn't exactly enthused:
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.
But what would he be interested in? Maybe something weekly...like...a variety show! OH MAN, if Maya Rudolph is bringin' back the weekly variety show, NPH is definitely the next person we'd like to see round up a weekly tour-de-force. He said:
I liked this weekly variety thing [...] I think if it's weekly, and people really want to see it, and you trust that there's a lot of really great shit on there, then you're gonna get the guests to want to come on there — a weekly thing you'd have more time to prep for stuff, you could pre-tape stuff that would be really exciting, you could flesh it out more.
Now let the dreaming commence. (Stage directions: stops, pauses to dream about how I would stop everything in my week to watch NPH's variety show.) And not to mention, he has a point — a variety show offers certain perks that a nightly show does not, and all of those benefits definitely gives a variety show the potential to be — wait for it — legendary! (You saw that one coming, didn't you?)
And think about it: we're totally poised to have variety shows make a major come back now! With digital shorts becoming all the rage, Saturday Night Live is now more like Saturday Night Sometimes Live But More Recorded Beforehand, which is less catchy for sure, but far more accurate to what its state currently is. Sketch comedy is funny to almost anyone with a pulse, provided it's good, and who isn't a sucker for a good musical number?
So if saying "no thanks" to the possibility of hosting a late night television show means that the doors may fly open for this possibility, then this is all good stuff.
But also — are you really surprised that NPH was offered that hosting spot?