Slatest PM: Colbert Rumored to Be Front-Runner to Replace Letterman

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
April 4 2014 5:02 PM

Slatest PM: Colbert Rumored to Be Front-Runner to Replace Letterman

470013539-stephen-colbert-visits-the-tonight-show-starring-jimmy
Stephen Colbert visits 'The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon' at Rockefeller Center on February 17, 2014 in New York City

Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon

Josh Voorhees Josh Voorhees

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

Late Night Rumor Mill: Mashable: "Stephen Colbert is CBS' top choice to replace the retiring David Letterman, and has indicated that he's willing to take over the Late Show when the time comes, people familiar with both sides of the discussions tell Mashable. Colbert has not had any formal contract discussions with CBS, and no agreement is in place, but sources tell Mashable that he first engaged with network executives while Letterman was still mulling the timing of his retirement. Though CBS has had conversations with other candidates, including Colbert's Comedy Central counterpart Jon Stewart, individuals with knowledge of the situation say Colbert is currently the front-and-center candidate. ... Colbert would leave behind the pseudo-conservative persona he's cultivated at The Colbert Report and just be himself at his CBS home, one of the individuals told Mashable."

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From the Browbeat Archives: The Many White Men of Late Night

What Could Have Been: The Hollywood Reporter: "The pitch was for [John] Oliver potentially to occupy the 12:30 time slot currently filled by The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson in the event Ferguson does not re-up his contract at the end of 2014, or possibly for Oliver to launch a different show that would be syndicated by CBS, according to sources. The talks, which ended when Oliver chose in November to host a weekly show on HBO, illustrate the significant challenges CBS faces in remaking its late-night block.... Ferguson has his fans, but he has not emerged as Letterman's heir apparent, because his show is perceived as a more niche chat hour built around his quirky interview style rather than a mainstream variety show that has embraced the digital era, as Jimmy Fallon has at NBC and Jimmy Kimmel at ABC. In addition, the fact that Letterman's Worldwide Pants production company produces with CBS both his Late Show and Ferguson's Late Late Show seemingly gives the network a chance to clean house and rebuild with a new generation of talent, if it chooses to do so."

It's Friday, April 4th, welcome to the Slatest PM. Follow your afternoon host on Twitter at @JoshVoorhees and the whole team at @Slatest.

Fort Hood Update: CBS/AP: "Officials and family members have identified the three soldiers who were killed in a shooting rampage Wednesday at Fort Hood. Sgt. Timothy Owens, 37, of Effingham, Ill., was an Iraq war veteran; Sgt. Carlos A. Lazaney, 38, of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, was a 20-year Army veteran who was planning to retire; and Sgt. Danny Ferguson of Mulberry, Fla., had just returned from a deployment to Afghanistan, officials said. All three were killed and 16 others wounded when Spc. Ivan Lopez opened fire at the sprawling Texas military base, before turning the gun on himself."

Micky D's Closes Crimean Chains: NBC News: "McDonald's has closed its restaurants in Crimea, the fast food giant said on Friday, the latest international company to scale back operations in the peninsula recently annexed by Russia. The company said in a statement that its three branches in the region were shuttered because of 'operational reasons beyond our control.'  McDonald's said it hoped to re-open the restaurants in the cities of Simferopol, Sevastopol and Yalta as soon as possible. In another statement posted on its Ukrainian website, the company offered to relocate staff to other branches in Ukraine. ... Deutsche Post, the world's largest courier company and owner of DHL, announced on Thursday that it would no longer accept letters destined for Crimea after its counterpart there, Universal Postal Union (UPU), said delivery to the region could not be guaranteed."

Medicaid Surge: New York Times: "Enrollment in Medicaid has increased by three million people, to a total of more than 61 million, largely because of the Affordable Care Act, the Obama administration said Friday. Moreover, it said, the increases were much greater in states that expanded Medicaid eligibility. ... The new figures compare enrollment in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program in February with the average monthly enrollment in July to September 2013, just before the health insurance marketplaces opened. ... In states where the expansion was in effect in February, enrollment increased by 8.3 percent, to a total of 37 million. In states that have not expanded Medicaid, enrollment was up 1.6 percent. ... The government figures are consistent with estimates by independent experts, who had predicted that 3.5 million additional people would qualify for Medicaid. The government numbers do not include people who signed up last month, following a huge publicity campaign by President Obama and other officials."

Flash Boys Fallout: Reuters: "The U.S. Justice Department is investigating high-speed trading for possible insider trading, Attorney General Eric Holder told lawmakers on Friday. The disclosure comes the same week that regulators and the FBI also confirmed they are looking into potential wrongdoing by high-frequency stock traders. Regulators have been examining whether ordinary investors are at an unfair disadvantage to high-speed traders, who use computer algorithms to rapidly dart in and out of trades to earn fractions of a penny that add up to big profits over time. ... The long-running debate about high-frequency trading intensified on Monday, after best-selling author Michael Lewis published a new book, Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt. The book contends that high-speed traders have rigged the stock market, profiting from trades made at a speed unavailable to ordinary investors."

That's all for this week. See you back here Monday. Until then, tell your friends to subscribe or simply forward the newsletter on and let them make up their own minds.

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

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