Lady's Night

By Don Kaplan

IS late-night TV ready for a little female companionship?

For the first time since Joan Rivers was touted as Johnny Carson's replacement in the late 1980s, a young female comic is the front-runner for a job behind the desk of a late night TV show.

Comic cut-up Amy Sedaris star of the cult cable hit "Strangers with Candy" and a regular guest on the wee-hours circuit finds herself at the head of a short list of names to take over "The Late Late Show" when Craig Kilborn steps down in two weeks.

"She's an idiot savant and her savant is making faces," "Daily Show" correspondent and Sedaris' close friend, Stephen Colbert told The Post.

Her longtime relationship with David Letterman whose company World Wide Pants also produces "The Late Late Show" certainly will not hurt.

"Strangers" and a new movie based on it that is currently in the works are Letterman productions. Sedaris, 43, an alumna of the improv comedy troupe Second City, first gained notoriety on Comedy Central's sketch show "Exit 57," which featured writing by her brother, acclaimed author David Sedaris.

She has also guest starred on "Sex and The City" and appeared in several hit films, including "Elf" and "Maid in Manhattan."

Just last week, Sedaris appeared on a repeat of the episode of "The Late Show" with David Letterman that was filmed at 4 a.m. last spring.

Another possible host dropped by industry sources over the weekend is comedian Jeffery Ross, a favorite young comic at Friars roasts who's had guest shots on several shows, including as a murdered comic on "CSI."

"I can tell you flat out that any rumor that is floating around about replacement hosts is completely false," "Late Late Show" executive producer Rob Burnett told The Post.

Kilborn, who had hosted CBS' "The Late Late Show" for five years, walked away from the show late last week after demanding a boatload of cash to re-sign with the show. Although both sides say the relationship ended amicably, when the show's producers offered a more modest raise, Kilborn walked.

"The Late Late Show" producers have said they will approach a short list of potential candidates before making a final decision. Kilborn plans to film about two week's worth of shows, including tonight's, before "The Late Late Show" goes on a planned hiatus and airs repeats for two weeks.

© August 16, 2004 — New York Post