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Kilborn going off ‘Late’ shift at CBS

Talk host says he's ready to 'try something new'
/ Source: The Associated Press

Craig Kilborn has decided to quit CBS’ “Late Late Show” after five seasons, leaving the network to find a new host for the hour that follows “Late Show with David Letterman.”

“It was easily the greatest job I’ve had, and CBS was very generous in their offer to re-sign me,” Kilborn told Daily Variety. “But I simply want to try something new. I can now focus on writing and producing different television projects I haven’t had time for.”

Not one to pass up a gag, Kilborn added: “And this is cool: I will continue to wear makeup in my everyday life.”

Kilborn had drawn solid ratings for CBS since he took the time slot over from Tom Snyder. Since 1999, the audience had grown 34 percent to this season’s average of 1.7 million viewers.

He likely will wrap up his tenure by within a month, according to a source close to the production, Variety reported Friday. The program is produced by Letterman’s company, Worldwide Pants.

CBS, which learned of Kilborn’s decision Thursday, had no comment on his replacement, a CBS spokesman said Friday.

There was immediate speculation that Conan O’Brien, whose contract with NBC’s “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” has more than a year to run, might be a candidate — if he could eventually could end up with Letterman’s job.

Industry speculation has it that Letterman is likely to exit late-night TV before Leno does.

Kilborn was the original host of Comedy Central’s “Daily Show” and had a role in the 2003 film “Old School.”