David Letterman has announced his retirement from the Late Show this afternoon, during a taping of the show. He will step down from the programme in 2015.
Letterman premiered the Late Show on CBS on the 30th August 1993, so if he stays on board until August next year he will have been on CBS with the Late Show for 22 years.
The Late Show celebrated its 4000th episode last month.
CNN reports that during the taping for the Late Show this afternoon, Letterman said he talked about the possibility of retiring with CBS president Les Moonves:
“He and I have had a relationship for years and years and years, and we have had this conversation in the past, and we agreed that we would work together on this circumstance and the timing of this circumstance… And I phoned him just before the program, and I said ‘Leslie, it’s been great, you’ve been great, and the network has been great, but I’m retiring”.
A date wasn’t mentioned for when Dave will bow out of the Late Show – he went on to say “I think it will be at least a year or so, but sometime in the not too distant future”.
The news was initially leaked on Twitter by former REM band member Mike Mills who was performing on the programme with Joseph Arthur:
Dave just announced his retirement #2015 #muchlovedave
— Mike Mills (@m_millsey) April 3, 2014
Reports indicate Dave got a standing ovation from the Ed Sullivan Theater audience, and rightly so.
Letterman extended his CBS contract through 2015 back in October last year.
His long-time late night rival Jay Leno retired from NBC’s Tonight Show earlier this year to be replaced with the younger Jimmy Fallon prompting rumours of Dave’s potential retirement in the not-to-distant future, so this wasn’t entirely unexpected news.
CNN reports Letterman went on to thank everyone for his time on the Late Show saying “I just want to reiterate my thanks for the support from the network, all of the people who have worked here, all of the people in the theater, all the people on the staff, everybody at home, thank you very much” and joked “what this means now, is that Paul and I can be married”.
David Letterman has been a staple in the homes of millions of Americans for more than 30 years in a late night slot, first premiering with Late Night on NBC in 1982 until he defected to CBS to host the Late Show after losing his bid to host The Tonight Show following Johnny Carson’s retirement – The Tonight Show was given to Jay Leno instead.
There have now been two video clips released by CBS via their Late Show account on YouTube.
The first is an exclusive interview with Mike Mills who broke the news of Letterman’s retirement announcement on Twitter, and the second is a clip from the episode of the Late Show itself in which Dave makes his important announcement:
There’s also an official posting on the Late Show’s official Twitter account:
— Letterman (@Letterman) April 3, 2014
This story is still developing so look out for further news postings over the coming days. You can keep track of developments in our new dedicated category following this announcement – click here.
CNN – “David Letterman to retire”
Huff Post – “David Letterman Retiring After More Than 30 Years As Late Night Host”
Reuters – “David Letterman to retire from CBS in about a year – source”
The New York Times – “David Letterman to Retire in 2015”
BBC News – “US TV host David Letterman to retire in 2015”