Worldwide Pants (WWP) is talk show host David Letterman
's production company
uses his clout to negotiate and create other programs besides his own Late Show with David Letterman
. Former Late Show head writer Rob Burnett
runs the company for Dave
, although the big man himself always has an eye on the company's operations. Worldwide Pants is responsible for some of network television
's greatest hits and forgetable losses.
The company came into existance during the Late Night with David Letterman days, and although NBC owned the show and all profits and control of it, WWP existed as the entity that handled business between the show and the network. When Dave left NBC in 1992 for CBS, control of the new Late Show with David Letterman went to WWP, meaning that the company owns the show and controls all profits, airings, and business involved with the show. Dave himself, acting as WWP majority controller (Dave won't reveal who the other partners in the business are), even chooses the reruns of the show that air during weeks when the show is dark (that is, not producing new material).
Another aspect of the CBS deal was that WWP had the right to produce a companion late night talk show to follow the Late Show. This deal led to the creation of The Late Late Show with Tom Snyder, another show that was controlled and owned by WWP. The show remained under WWP's control after Tom Snyder exited and the program became The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn. CBS also had first-look options for any new show that WWP creates, however this deal expired in 2001.
Speaking of creating other shows, aside from Late Show the other WWP program that viewers are most likely familiar with is Everybody Loves Raymond. After comedian Ray Romano performed on the Late Show in 1994, WWP signed him to a $50,000 holding deal while a show was conceived for him to star in. Eventually HBO became involved in the project, and today all three entities - WWP, CBS, and HBO - hold controlling interests in the show. WWP's profits from syndication of Raymond could easily top $100 million when all is said and done.
Worldwide Pants is also responsible for NBC's now-cancelled Ed. Initially rejected by CBS, the network's entertainment executive Les Moonves handed the rejected show back to WWP who promptly took it over to NBC. This is the first and only time that Moonves has returned control of a rejected show to the production house so that it may seek another interested buyer. Dave had his hands in the initial conception and creative work of the show, but often steps back and returns to controlling Late Show full-time and hands control to Rob Burnett.
Less successful WWP shows include Welcome To New York starring comic Jim Gaffigan as a midwestern weatherman who comes to New York to find fame and fortune, a concept that mirrors aspects of Dave's own rise to success. Similarly, Bonnie Hunt's failed program The Bonnie Hunt Show was also a WWP production. Both programs were, like Raymond, toplined by successful guests from Late Show. Completing the list of failed WWP productions are The High Life from HBO and The Building, also from CBS.
Each WWP production ends with the Worldwide Pants title card. The card shows the words W O R L D W I D E P A N T S with the letter "O" being the planet Earth and the letter A being a pair of pants. Sometimes you'll hear Late Show announcer Alan Kalter say something witty over the title card, such as "Pants!" or a grandiose laugh.
Worldwise Pants t-shirts, coffee mugs, and other such items branded with the WWP logo (the same as from the title card) are availabe from the Worldwide Pants Superstore at the CBS website (http://www.cbs.com) and at the CBS Store in New York. Typically these items are also given away as prizes on the Late Show website.
For the best in entertainment and pants, trust Worldwide Pants.