08/16/2004 at 09:25 AM EDT
With just two weeks remaining on Craig Kilborn's contract, CBS spokesman Chris Ender says, "The search for the new Late Late Show host begins immediately."
So far, no plans are in place once Kilborn exits on Aug. 27. The host, who turns 42 on Aug. 24, said of his reasons for leaving: "I can now focus on writing and producing different television projects I haven't had time for."
"We will have to work with CBS as to how we fill that time," Rob Burnett, the head of David Letterman's production company Worldwide Pants (which also produces the 12:30 a.m. Late Late Show), tells Variety.
As for the high-profile names that have been bandied about to replace Kilborn – from NBC's Conan O'Brien to comic writer-performer Amy Sedaris – Burnett adds: "Any rumor or speculation that has been levied about the replacement is just that. We are literally assembling a list now. We have spoken to no one. There is no frontrunner."
It's well known that O'Brien, whose NBC Late Night show airs opposite Kilborn's, would prefer to be in the earlier 11:30 p.m. timeslot, now filled by Letterman at CBS and Tonight Show host Jay Leno at NBC. But even if O'Brien were to go to CBS as the Late Late host, there would be no assurances that Letterman would retire any sooner than Leno.
O'Brien's NBC contract is up at the end of 2005, while Comedy Central has locked up Jon Stewart for The Daily Show through 2008. Other names being tossed about, reports Variety, include actor Vince Vaughn, who was among those who sat in last year when Letterman came down with shingles.
The New York Post, meanwhile, touts Sedaris, who would be the first woman to host such a show since Joan Rivers's reign in the late 1980s.
Speaking of Sedaris, Stephen Colbert of The Daily Show (who's a close friend of Sedaris's), tells the Post: "She's an idiot savant – and her savant is making faces."