Following in the six-decade tradition of late-night TV talk shows, yet another professional comedian — sigh — has been picked to succeed an exiting host: Stephen Colbert will replace David Letterman, retiring next year after an historic 33 years on late-night television.
Not so fast. In its haste, CBS has overlooked an inordinately fertile field for Dave’s “Late Show” successor: Financial gurus. Indeed, there is a host of prominent personalities in this arena who are far more qualified than conservative-pundit satirist Colbert.
Financial gurus have no shortage of smarts and charisma. What’s more, they know how to succeed in funniness without really trying.
Here, then, is ThinkAdvisor’s “Top 10 Financial Gurus Better Than Colbert to Replace Letterman”:
10. Who: Michael Lewis – Ex-Salomon Bros. bond salesman; bestselling author of “Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt,” “Moneyball,” “Liar’s Poker”.
Why: Because even though his muckraking tell-all on high-frequency trading is stirring up things, he retains an impish, boyish charm that could appeal to middle America.
In his own words: “I enjoy watching [the market] go boom and crash.”
9. Who: Bill Gross, PIMCO co-founder; manager, Total Return Fund.
Why: Because the manager of the world’s biggest bond fund likes to pour out his heart. That’s how Jack Paar became – I kid you not – a “Tonight Show” phenom.
In his own words: “I’m so sick of Mohamed El-Erian trying to undermine me!”
8. Who: Suze Orman, ex-FA; bestselling how-to financial author and TV show host.
Why: Because she strongly avows getting out of debt and getting into “When Harry Met Sally.” And has a way with pithy statements perfectly suited to promote the show on social media — and she’s already a TV host.
In her own words: “Women fake orgasms, and men fake finances.”
7. Who: Jeremy Grantham, co-founder, chief investment strategist of Grantham, Mayo, van Otterloo (GMO).
Why: Because he’s a hedge fund manager who predicts market bubbles spot-on and is downright, curmudgeonly amusing. However, during his monologue he might have to tone down his penchant for delivering gloomy, apocalyptic predictions about the global economy.
In his own words: “We’ve gotten ourselves into a bit of a rat hole [national debt], and we should be careful getting out of it.”
6. Who: Abby Joseph Cohen, senior investment strategist, Goldman Sachs; president, The Global Markets Institute.
Why: Because she bullishly tuned out the financial crisis credit bubble but handled the fall-out like a real trooper–a show-biz trait you’ve got to have in spades if you want to get through the first difficult months of hosting.
In her own words: “I try not to take myself too seriously. It’s important to keep a sense of humor.”
5. Who: Sallie Krawcheck, former CEO of Merrill Lynch and Smith Barney; heads 85 Broads, a professional network for women only.
Why: Because Krawcheck argues for economic empowerment for women and doesn’t pussyfoot around.
In her own words: “Airbrushing is ridiculous!”
4. Who: Robert Rodriguez, fund manager; managing partner-CEO, First Pacific Advisors; sports car racer.
Why: Because Rodriguez forecast the financial meltdown and is a keen appraiser of “Stupid Human Tricks.”
In his own words: “I give the last two administrations an ‘F’ – as in failure. I’m a harsh grader!”
3. Who: John Bogle, founder of The Vanguard Group and the first index mutual fund; president, The Bogle Financial Markets Research Center.
Why: Because 37,000 men and women are registered members of “The Bogleheads” fan club.
In his own words: “Do I make myself clear? Actively managed is a loser’s game!”
2. Who: Kenneth Fisher, chair-CEO, Fisher Investments; Forbes columnist; redwoods logging expert.
Why: Because the ace stock picker manages $50 billion in client assets and excels at getting a rise out of people.
In his own words: “If you are a BD, get out your knife and fork and get ready to eat the RIAs as dessert.”
And the No. 1 “Financial Guru More Qualified than Colbert to Replace Letterman”:
1. Who: Warren Buffett, chair-CEO, Berkshire Hathaway.
Why: Because Buffett is the second-richest person in the world but looks funny in a suit anyway.
In his own words: “I buy expensive suits. They just look cheap on me.”
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