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Paul Shaffer May Be Leaving Letterman When His Contract Is Up

By Dustin Rowles | Industry | October 15, 2012 |

By Dustin Rowles | Industry | October 15, 2012 |

This is what we call in the blogging business: Unnecessary Monday morning alarmism. It’s how we get your heart pumping, although I suspect for many of you, this news will earn little more than a shrug. But here it is: Paul Shaffer, “The Late Show’s” musical director, told TV Guide Canada that he may leave the late night talk show after his contract is up in 2014.

“We’ve been on 30 years so now we’ve got another two years … I’m going to be certainly ready to lie down after that, take a nap,” he says. “But once again, life is nutty - anything can happen. I’ve been so lucky and blessed to be working this long in show business. And whatever happens now is just gravy to me.”

The reason why this is alarmist is because, Shaffer may not be the only one leaving in 2014. Letterman will be 67 in 2014, and there’s the possibility that he may be leaving then, as well. My guess is also that, if Letterman does stay, any contract he signs will be short, and that it wouldn’t be that difficult to convince Shaffer to stay. It’s been 30 years, what’s one more, right?

Besides, to most people, especially those who don’t understand Shaffer’s contributions to music — he was the musical director for The Blues Brothers and he wrote the song, “It’s Raining Men,” and he’s also the musical director for the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame — Shaffer just the annoying sidekick who obnoxiously repeats Dave’s punchlines. A lot of folks have an irrational hatred of Shaffer that I don’t quite understand given how mild-mannered and Canadian he is.

Anyway, my guess is that, if Shaffer leaves, Dave leaves. He’s too old to bother starting all over with a new musical director.

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Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.