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

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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Read/Post Comments (3) | Recommend This Article (1)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On May 12, 2014, at 12:54 PM, oldman6767 wrote:

    They shouldn't base it on race or sexual preference. It's whoever fits the job the best. My vote is Joel McHale. He basically auditioned for a late night show by hosting the White House Correspondents Dinner. His sitcom just got cancelled, the late night landscape clearly wants to go younger. McHale fits it perfectly! Aisha Tyler is very talented but would she leave her very successful THREE jobs to do one? I don't think so. Joel McHale is the perfect guy to go up against Seth Meyers and replace Ferguson. He's the man for the job in my book. That'd be amazing to have Colbert and then McHale.

  • Report this Comment On May 14, 2014, at 3:54 AM, pugsydoodle wrote:

    with Moonves, effectively, making every personnel decision over at CBS (from the janitor's position to who will host "Late Night"), he might as well pick Tyler to complement the Colbert "1-2" loser's punch.

  • Report this Comment On May 24, 2014, at 2:16 PM, dimpls wrote:

    I don't think that it should matter if the person chosen is black / white or another race. male or female. lets start thinking of us all being family ( human beings ). I believe that most of us that watch these late night shows are adults ( LET US START ACTING LIKE ADULTS ). I think that if we start looking at each other as one and the same , then maybe, just maybe or children will start looking the same direction ( as all human ). maybe the show host or host/ess should be voted on and .... oops, that would not work either. people say that the votes for the president were fudged. either way I hope that it is someone that can do a great job as I will / may miss the show. I am a late night person and like to watch these shows.

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Daniel B. Kline

Daniel B. Kline is an accomplished writer and editor who has worked for the Microsoft's Finance app and The Boston Globe, where he wrote for the paper and ran the business desk. His latest book "Worst Ideas Ever" (Skyhorse) can be purchased at bookstores everywhere.

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