Late-night shake-up! David Letterman, the occasionally curmudgeonly and always gap-toothed host of Late Show With David Letterman, has announced that he will retire from the CBS talk show (and probably all late-night television) in 2015. Dave, as I call him, has helmed Late Show for nearly 21 years, since August of 1993; prior to that, he'd manned the desk of NBC's Late Night with David Letterman for 11 years, since 1982. Those two tenures combined have earned Dave the distinction of being the longest-running late-night talk-show host in TV history, surpassing the legendary Johnny Carson, who hosted NBC's Tonight Show for 30 years.
The news was broken by Mike Mills, the bassist for R.E.M. Wait, what? Yep, R.E.M. was taping tonight's show in New York when Letterman announced his retirement to the studio audience.
Dave just announced his retirement #2015 #muchlovedave— Mike Mills (@m_millsey) April 3, 2014
CBS later confirmed the news with an official statement, and has released the video of Letterman announcing his departure:
Dave has always been my favorite of the late-nighters after Carson (Johnny, not Daly), and with Jay Leno already gone, the late-night landscape is going to look pretty alien next year. Now the questions begin: Who will replace Dave? For as good as Craig Ferguson is in the 12:35am slot behind Dave, it's difficult to imagine CBS promoting him to 11:35pm. And as some media folks have already noted on Twitter, Conan O'Brien, Jon Stewart, and Stephen Colbert's contracts are all set to expire either later this year or next year. Hmmmm... I'd guess that CBS will shower Stewart with buckets of money until he says yes. But c'mon, we all know who we really want to see in the chair. This guy:
Who do YOU think should replace Dave?