Unless WorldWide Pants gives up ownership of the show, will Letterman get to hand pick his successor?
From what I understand WWP owns the show and CBS pays for the rights to broadcast.WWP does not own the show, CBS does. WWP is a production company, and it has been said that ".... his Worldwide Pants production company is highly unlikely to continue to produce the “Late Show” after retirement."
Now what happens to the Late Late Show, will WWP continue to co-produce or will CBS run it outright.Letterman owns the show, but not the name "Late Show". The full story is that Carson got a deal in the 70s by thretening to go to ABC that game him ownership of his show and the right to produce the 12:30 show under the name "Carson Productions". The 12:30 show was Letterman 's Late Night. When Carson retired, Letterman was already making many times what Leno wanted, and expected the same deal relative to a 12:30 slot. NBC, which at the time had a big plan to start a cable/sat channel for the rest of the world took Leno, who worked for far less and who took no ownership in the show.
Letterman got the same deal Carson had from CBS. He, via his oddly named Worldwide Pants, owns the show and the show that follows, with CBS obligated to carry whatever he produced at 12:30.
However when he retires the deal is up. The name "Late Show" is copyright by CBS and it can produce the show as it wants.