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CBS in planning stages for new late-night era

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(AP Photo/Jeffrey R. Staab). In this photo provided by CBS, Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert, left, shakes hands with host David Letterman on the set of the “Late Show with David Letterman,” Tuesday, April 22, 2014, in New York. (AP Photo/Jeffrey R. Staab). In this photo provided by CBS, Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert, left, shakes hands with host David Letterman on the set of the “Late Show with David Letterman,” Tuesday, April 22, 2014, in New York.
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By LYNN ELBER
AP Television Writer

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) - CBS is taking a wide-open approach to replacing Craig Ferguson in late-night, including the possibility of a host from politics, CBS Entertainment chief Nina Tassler said Thursday.

Details of the late-night transition from David Letterman to Stephen Colbert and from Ferguson to a yet-to-be-found replacement remain undecided, Tassler said.

Whether the host of the 12:30 p.m. Eastern show that follows Colbert's "Late Show" comes from comedy or perhaps even the political realm is under discussion, she said.

"We're looking at it through a very different lens," she said.

That raises the interesting if surprising possibility of a politics-focused late-night for CBS, depending on how Colbert approaches his new job.

Network meetings will be held in August to discuss the scheduling of Colbert's 2015 debut as "Late Show" host, Tassler told a Television Critics Association meeting.

There have been preliminary discussions with Colbert but, Tassler noted, he remains occupied with his duties on Comedy Central's "Colbert Report."

Letterman announced in April that he would retire next year but didn't say when.

As for the show's format under Colbert, he has said he wants an interview approach, Tassler said. But other details - such as whether there will be a band - are up in the air.

Colbert has already said he will leave his "Colbert Report" character, a blowhard conservative, behind.

When he debuts on "Late Show" as himself, he'll be joining NBC's Jimmy Fallon and ABC's Jimmy Kimmel as the new late-night vanguard following the retirement of veterans Letterman and Jay Leno, who left NBC's "Tonight" in February.

Ferguson said that he will leave "The Late Late Show" at the end of this year.

The "kneejerk" reaction is to go with the traditional interview format, Tassler added, "but who knows?"

___

Lynn Elber can be reached at lelber@ap.org or on Twitter at http://twitter.com/lynnelber .

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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