updated 04/04/2014 AT 9:00 AM ET
•originally published 04/04/2014 AT 11:20 AM ET
Sure, he’s irreplaceable. But someone will have to step into the 11:35 p.m. time slot on CBS when David Letterman retires next year after a record 33-year run in late night.
They’re big shoes to fill. But some names are already being floated as potential successors. Let’s look at some of the next would-be after-hours kings and queens.
The Scotsman, 51, would be a logical candidate, as he’s been hosting The Late Late Show, which airs after Letterman on CBS, since 2005. Ferguson has seemed conflicted at times about the 11:35 slot, saying in 2009: “I don’t know if I want to be any more famous than I am now.”
It could be perfect timing for Handler, 39, who is ending her eight-year run as host of E!’s Chelsea Lately this coming December. Her manager said this week that she’s actively looking for another gig, and is open to late night.
PEOPLE TV critic Tom Gliatto says, “My ideal choice would be Stephen Colbert from Comedy Central’s Colbert Report: incredibly funny, self-effacing, charming, intelligent – someone who seems to function as an actual human being (that is, who’s like the viewer) and not just as a comedian who would kill to host a talk show or the next big entertainment gig. Plus, he might be tired of the political persona he created for Report.”
Nikki Finke of Deadline Hollywood claims the job is Colbert’s to lose.
Tina Fey and Amy Poehler
Here’s an idea: Not one host but two. Fey, 43, and Poehler, 42, have been the perfect pair as Golden Globes hosts. They could follow former SNL castmate Jimmy Fallon into the talk-show game – perhaps hosting on alternating nights so they can still pursue their acting careers.
Neil Patrick Harris
The actor, 40, has more time now that How I Met Your Mother has wrapped up after almost a decade. He’s no stranger to hosting, either, having emceed the Tony Awards and the Emmy Awards multiple times with great success.