Business Take: Who Will Take Over for Craig Ferguson on CBS Late Night?

Craig Ferguson's decision to leave his show at 12:30 a.m. on CBS leaves an opening that CBS has to fill -- the network might do it without tabbing one of the usual suspects.

May 12, 2014 at 12:14PM

The retirement of David Letterman and the subsequent naming of Stephen Colbert to take his job as host of CBS's (NYSE:CBS) Late Night started another round of late night maneuvering. What began with Jimmy Fallon taking over for Jay Leno on The Tonight Show and Seth Meyers taking over for Fallon on Late Night also touched Viacom's (NASDAQ:VIA) Comedy Central with Colbert's departure creating an opening at 11:30 p.m. (which has since been filled by Daily Show correspondent Larry Wilmore).

Now the only remaining question is who will take over for Craig Ferguson on CBS at 12:30 a.m.? Ferguson received a payday for not being promoted to Letterman's job and once he was passed over he decided it was time to move on. (Ferguson has insisted in various media interviews that he did not want Letterman's job and had decided years ago to step down at the end of his current contract.

With Ferguson out Jason Hellmann and Daniel Kline debated who would get the coveted late-night post in today's episode of Business Take, the show that gives you the Foolish perspective on the most important business stories of the week. The two focused their discussion on the idea that CBS -- which has no obvious successor in its pipeline -- would break the mold of naming another white male and instead choose an African American host, a woman, or even an African American woman.

CBS has been quick to shoot down rumors that Chelsea Handler, whose deal with E! expires soon, would be considered. Who might make a short list? 

"They're going to go a non-traditional root," Kline said. "I think it's fair to say they're not going to go with a straight white male."

Kline named Neil Patrick Harris (a gay white male) and Aisha Tyler (an African American female) as his top choices among the many names that have been rumored. Harris has never hosted a talk show but he does have experience hosting awards shows.

"He's killed it on the Tonys," Hellmann said.

Tyler has more direct experience having once hosted Talk Soup on E! and now serving as a co-host on the morning panel show The Talk.

The challenge, Kline explained, is that Harris is coming off a hit television show where he made between $10 million and $20 million a year, which makes him cost prohibitive. Tyler, though she is on a successful show, would be a cheaper option and a nice break from the parade of white men in late night.

Do you think Tyler should be picked? Do you have another idea? Let us know in the comments section below?

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Daniel Kline has no position in any stocks mentioned. Jason Hellmann has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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