Chelsea Handler Handler may be leaving "Chelsea Lately" when her contract at E! expires. She could be the first woman since Joan Rivers to host a late-night show on a broadcast network.
Craig Ferguson The "Late Late Show" host has followed Letterman for years and would be a natural successor to the spot. Plus, his contract may have a right of first refusal clause that would give him first dibs on the gig.
Jay Leno Leno would seem an especially bright prospect for CBS because he retired from “Tonight” on top. And CBS, with the oldest viewers in broadcast TV, may not be as fixated on youth as NBC was when it replaced Leno with new "Tonight Show" host Jimmy Fallon.
Conan O'Brien O'Brien is in the fourth year of a five-year contract with TBS, the home of his new show, “Conan.” Of course, if he were in the running alongside Leno, it could be another ugly new "Conan vs. Jay" battle, this time at CBS.
Ellen DeGeneres The super successful daytime host became the subject of the #DraftEllen campaign on Twitter just minutes after Letterman's announcement. She's affable and universally well-liked, especially if this year's Oscar ratings are any indication.
Jon Stewart Stewart has hosted "The Daily Show" on Comedy Central
Stephen Colbert Like his 11 p.m. lead-in Stewart, Colbert has connected with audiences with his right-wing act on "Colbert Report." The question is whether that conservative character would come with him to network TV -- and if not, would people care about Colbert as himself?
Louis C.K. A three-part episode of FX's "Louie" imagined what a race for the "Late Show" gig between himself, Chris Rock, and wild card Jerry Seinfeld. Frankly, we could picture the Emmy Award winner in the host's chair.
Chris Rock Also in the "Louie" episode, Rock has hosting experience at the Academy Awards and produced FX's "Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell" in 2012.
Wild Card: Jerry Seinfeld The standup comedian has been dabbling here and there since his seminal self-titled NBC series ended in 1998. A choice of Seinfeld would be out of left field for CBS and perhaps what it needs to shake up late night.
Wild Card: Rosie O'Donnell The former daytime talk show host recently resurfaced on ABC's "The View," and her edgier tone could translate to the post-primetime crowd.
Wild Card: Mo'Nique The Oscar-winning actress hosted a late-night talk show on BET for two years in 2009, and the choice of a woman of color on a network late night show would be a huge change.