‘Late Show’ Announcer Bill Wendell Leaving CBS
NEW YORK (AP) _ Bill Wendell, whose loud, emphatic declamations have introduced late-night comedian David Letterman for more than 15 years, is leaving the show after Friday’s taping.
``Well, it’s about time,″ the ebullient Wendell said in a telephone interview Thursday. ``The kids are starting to send money back home.″ And one other thing: ``Put down that I sound like I’ve lost 6 or 7 pounds. It’ll make my doctor so happy!″
He insists he’s not retiring. ``I won’t hang it up,″ he said. Instead, he’ll be freelancing, ``doing little intros for disk jockeys″ and other short-term projects.
It was not immediately clear who would replace Wendell.
Wendell left NBC in 1992, as Letterman was leaving ``Late Night″ and the network for his own ``Late Show″ at the Ed Sullivan Theater. ``Late Show″ then signed on Wendell.
Wendell wouldn’t say exactly how many years ago he started announcing. ``Let’s just say it’s been over 40.″ He announced quiz shows for emcees including Merv Griffin, Jan Murray, Jack Kelly and Monte Hall.
He became an expert at audience warmups along the way. On CBS’ ``Late, Late Show,″ he told host Tom Snyder there’s an art to it.
``When you go out before an audience,″ he said, ``you’ve got to let them know you’re friendly and they’re there for a good time. And if they don’t laugh, you’re going to come down into the audience and hurt ’em.″