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Worldwide Pants Incorporated
Founded 1991[1]
Founder(s) David Letterman
Headquarters New York City, New York,  United States
Key people Rob Burnett (President/CEO)
Peter Lassally
Industry Television and film
production company
Owner(s) David Letterman
Employees 70 (2007)[1]

Worldwide Pants Incorporated is an American television and film production company owned by comedian and talk show host David Letterman. Its on-going productions are Late Show with David Letterman (1993–present) and The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson (2005–present).

The company is headquartered at the Ed Sullivan Theater Building in New York City. The president and CEO is a former Late Show executive producer Rob Burnett. Peter Lassally (a former Tonight Show and Late Show executive producer) is the senior vice-president; he is also the current Late Late Show executive producer.


Past television productions

The first Worldwide Pants production was Late Night with David Letterman, produced in partnership with NBC and Carson Productions. The company, then known as Worldwide Pants Productions, shared a 1991 Peabody Award, saying the three production companies managed to "take one of TV's most conventional and least inventive forms — the talk show — and infuse it with freshness and imagination."[2]

Productions for CBS:

Productions for NBC:

Productions for ABC:

Productions for PBS:

Productions for HBO:

  • The High Life (1996)

2007 WGA strike

Production of new episodes of the company's two late-night CBS talk shows ceased on November 5, 2007 when the Worldwide Pants writers joined the strike against the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), the trade association to which Worldwide Pants is a member.

During the first part of the strike reruns of Worldwide Pants shows were aired. This changed when Worldwide Pants broke ranks with the AMPTP by negotiating an independent, interim collective bargaining agreement with the Writers Guild of America in which Worldwide Pants essentially agreed to operate in accordance with the contract demands of the WGA for the duration of the labor dispute. The agreements automatically reverted to the final contract terms that the guild reached with the AMPTP at the end of the strike. The agreement allowed both the Late Show with David Letterman and The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson to return to the airwaves with their full writing staffs on January 2, 2008.

The agreement gave Worldwide Pants and CBS a perceived advantage over their rivals at NBC. The latter network was unable to make similar arrangements for its late night programming because NBC has retained control of production operations for both The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and Late Night with Conan O'Brien. Unlike CBS, NBC would have had to negotiate an agreement covering the entire network in order to have writers work on the two late night shows. NBC aired new episodes of its late night shows on the same night as CBS, but without writers. This meant, among other things, that Leno and O'Brien were unable to perform their traditional monologues without violating strike rules (as the WGA had determined Leno did with monologues he claimed to write) and were unable to secure the appearance of many A-list celebrities, since most SAG celebrities refused to cross a picket line.

The granting of complete control of Late Show to Letterman was originally a condition CBS accepted in exchange for Letterman's agreement to switch networks in 1993.

Film production

The company produced its first film, Strangers with Candy, a prequel to the TV show of the same name. The film premiered at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival, within the "Park City at Midnight" category. Warner Independent Pictures subsequently signed up as North American distributor of the film, before ThinkFilm acquired the rights from Warner, giving it a limited release in summer 2006. The film grossed slightly more than $2 million, on $2 million production budget and $1.5 million prints and advertising budget.[5]

Other announced deals

A 2002 Forbes article comments on the approach Letterman takes for Worldwide Pants television productions:[6]

Letterman's approach is to nurture an idea with seed money from his production company, then get someone else to pay for the rest of it. He isn't particularly hands-on once the programs get past the initial stages, but his imprimatur carries weight with network buyers. "They've got a point of view about everything they do," says Chris Albrecht, president of original programming at HBO. "These guys are making television every night and have been for a long time. You feel more comfortable with them."

In April 2005 the Sci Fi Channel announced that Worldwide Pants would produce a half-hour animated ensemble comedy for the channel from Brendon Small, called Barbarian Chronicles. A fall 2007 interview with Small posted on a hardcore/metal music review website made it clear that there are no plans to go through with the deal.[7]

In October 2007, it was announced that Worldwide Pants would co-produce its first non-comedy project, a documentary about young adults running for public office.[8] The documentary, titled The Youngest Candidate, was written and directed by Jason Pollock and premiered July 2008 at the Traverse City Film Festival.[9]

In March 2008, EcoMedia announced a "content partnership" with Worldwide Pants to "create original, unscripted, environment-related content, in the style of The Late Show remote segments, for television and Internet distribution."[10]

In 2008 Worldwide Pants signed a product placement deal with Ford to promote the Ford Flex during The Late Late Show, using a series of weekly custom-written skits in which Ferguson played the leader of a band riding in a Flex as they traveled from Los Angeles International Airport to the CBS Studio.[11]


External links



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