David Letterman returns to television with 2018 Netflix series

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[August 09, 2017]  LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - More than two years after signing off from "The Late Show," David Letterman is returning to television with a six-episode talk show on Netflix, and said that Pope Francis and U.S. President Donald Trump would be top of his wish-list.

Letterman, 70, will host the yet-to-be-titled series, which will feature interviews with "extraordinary people" and segments from the field "expressing his curiosity and humor," Netflix <NFLX.O>, said in a statement. The show will premiere next year.

"Here's what I have learned, if you retire to spend more time with your family, check with your family first. Thanks for watching, drive safely," Letterman joked in a statement.

Known for his quick wit, sarcasm, offbeat humor and silly stunts, Letterman interviewed top stars and political figures on more than 6,000 episodes over 33 years in late-night television.

He told Hollywood trade paper Variety on Tuesday that he has one interview already booked for the first Netflix show but would not reveal the name.

"It's somebody who means a great deal to me," he said. "The upbringing of this person is so multi-faceted it makes your head spin."

Letterman said he was looking forward to doing weightier material and longer interviews than his "Late Show" format allowed.

"I'd like to talk to President Trump. I've known the guy for 25-30 years," he told Variety. "I'd like to go back to New York where he was a kid and start there. I'd like to just ask him about the change in him as a man, where did it come from, how did it begin and where is it going."

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He said he would also like to interview Pope Francis.

Letterman, who has grown a large white beard since leaving "The Late Show" in May 2015, was succeeded on the CBS <CBS.N> show by Stephen Colbert.

Letterman is just the latest in a long line of big names to join the roster of Netflix's growing original content slate, which includes Chelsea Handler's weekly talk show "Chelsea."

The Letterman news comes a day after Netflix made its first acquisition, purchasing comics publisher Millarworld and bringing on board a host of character franchises it can mine for TV shows and movies.

Netflix last month reported second-quarter revenue of $2.79 billion and net income of $65.6 million.

(Reporting by Piya Sinha-Roy; Editing by Bill Trott and Sandra Maler)

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