Cheerless NBC Drops a Top Show and Could Lose

Letterman, its late-night franchise

THE TIMING OF THE ANNOUNCEMENT -- THE 51ST ANniversary of Pearl Harbor -- was appropriate. NBC disclosed that this will be the last season for Cheers, the network's top hit and one of the most successful comedies in TV history. The show's producers decided to close the fictional Boston bar after 11 years.

The news didn't get better. A day later, it was revealed that David Letterman, host of NBC's popular late-night show, had been offered more than $14 million a year from CBS to jump networks. NBC has a month to match the deal, but will be hard pressed to...

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