Neil Patrick Harris was on my list, as well as many others, as a potential late-night TV host for CBS in 2015.
NPH confirmed this morning on Howard Stern’s SiriusXM radio show that CBS chief Les Moonves and entertainment president Nina Tassler had him on their list, too!
Harris said Moonves and Tassler invited him to a sit-down to see if he’d be interested in late-night hosting. “Not in conversation, about to make a deal, but they called me in, sat me down and asked if that would be something that I’d be interested in doing,” he said.
Short answer: No. Thanks, but no thanks.
Slightly longer answer: Harris has no interest in the daily grind of producing, writing and hosting a nightly TV program. A weekly variety show, on the other hand? Now he’d be listening!
This happened a while ago, too, as Harris said when he met with Moonves and Tassler, Letterman was still under contract for two years, and that they presumably were trying to plan ahead. The meeting took place in Moonves’s office, with sushi served. And Harris knew he had a good relationship with CBS from his starring role on How I Met Your Mother and hosting various awards programs on the network.
“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 the show with him, so I was surprised that he pitched me that idea,” he says. “And I sat for a minute with it, while I was talking with him, and I said, I told him the things that concerned me about the longevity of that kind of gig. That 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.”
That goes for 11:30 p.m. or 12:30 a.m.
“I liked this weekly variety show,” he says. “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 to your thing — 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 a little bit more, have more acts, and not just do nightly.”
Would Harris go for that? Would Moonves? Stern asked. “Yeah. He still might be.”
Roll the audio clip!