April 3, 2014 at 2:29 pm #315525
Here’s full official announcement of David Letterman’s 2015 retirement:
David Letterman, during a taping of tonight’s ‘Late Show’, said that he informed Leslie Moonves, President and CEO of CBS Corporation, that he will step down as the host of the show in 2015, which is when his current contract expires.
“The man who owns this network, Leslie 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,’” said Letterman.
“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. What this means now, is that Paul and I can be married.”
“We don’t have the timetable for this precisely down – I think it will be at least a year or so, but sometime in the not too distant future, 2015 for the love of God, in fact, Paul and I will be wrapping things up,” he added, to a standing ovation from the audience in the Ed Sullivan Theater.
Letterman’s career as a late night broadcaster has spanned more than 32 years and nearly 6,000 episodes. He was the first host of Late Night at NBC from 1982-1992, and he has been the only host of Late Show, which he created on CBS in 1993. The two shows have been nominated for 108 Emmys, winning eight. Late Night received a Peabody in 1992, and Letterman became a Kennedy Center Honoree in 2012.
A clip of the announcement will follow in a separate email.
Time to promote Craig Ferguson to 11:35PM, then. Or else lose him, as well.April 3, 2014 at 2:50 pm #315527
Here is the article from our own website…
David Letterman is to bow out of the late night wars next year, after 33 plus years in the trenches. He will have surpassed by four years his idol Johnny Carson who reigned over “The Tonight Show” for almost three decades beginning in the fall of 1962. And he will have outlasted his rival Jay Leno who got the “Tonight” show gig over him and hosted that NBC staple for 22 years before retiring last month in favor of Jimmy Fallon.
Letterman began his career in late night television working for Carson. On Feb. 1, 1982, “Late Night with David Letterman” debuted on NBC in the hour following the “Tonight” show with Bill Murray as the first guest.
Over the NBC years, Letterman made it his mission to showcasing people that wouldn’t be booked on other shows as well as his loyal staff members including Kathleen Ankers (the NBC bookmobile lady), Jude Brennan, Pete Fatovich, Barbara Gaines, Biff Henderson, Al Maher, announcer Bill Wendell, and especially Paul Shaffer and the World’s Most Dangerous Band. The show earned five consecutive Emmy Awards for variety writing (1983-1986) plus one for variety directing in 1990.
Among the memorable and frequent guests in that first decade: Marv Albert, Jeff Altman, John Candy, Cher (reuniting with Sonny Bono one night), Bob Costas, Michael J. Fox, Teri Garr, Crispin Glover, Charles Grodin, Tom Hanks, Jack Hanna, Bill Hicks, Andy Kaufman, Michael Keaton, Richard Lewis, Steve Martin, George Miller, Harvey Pekar, Regis Philbin, Jerry Seinfeld, Martin Short, Siskel and Ebert, Hunter S. Thompson and Robin Williams.
Regular segments included the Top 10 list, stupid pet tricks, stupid human tricks, viewer mail, small town news, Dave’s record collection, Chris Elliott (the guy under the seat and other guys), Larry “Bud” Melman, director Hal Gurnee‘s network time killers, elevator races, suits of velcro and other fun stuff, the monkey cam, visits from Dave’s mom Dorothy, and throwing stuff from the roof.
All of that merriment came to an end on June 25, 1993, when Hanks and musical guest Bruce Springsteen helped to close out the show. Letterman and company shifted over to CBS and a time slot one hour earlier that put them in direct competition with Leno.
Murray was the first guest on “Late Show with David Letterman” on August 30, 1993, with musical guest Billy Joel and special appearances by Tom Brokaw and Paul Newman. A few months later, Carson made his last TV appearance on his pal’s show, something he never did for Leno.
The CBS program dominated Leno’s version of “Tonight” in the ratings for two years before they dipped to second place for much of the remaining time. Many of the same staffers and comedy bits transitioned over with Letterman, but newcomers emerging included Rob Burnett, Johnny Dark, Pat Farmer, Joe Grossman, Rupert Jee, announcer Alan Kalter, Tony Mendez, Gerard Mulligan, neighbors Mujibur and Sirajul, Maria Pope, and Bill Scheft.
Most of the favored guests from the NBC show retained their “frequent flyer” status, but quite a few celebrities started appeared regularly with him on CBS or created headlines, including Alec Baldwin, Drew Barrymore, Tom Dreesen, Farrah Fawcett, Will Ferrell, Jim Gaffigan, Ricky Gervais, Bonnie Hunt, Jake Johanssen, Andy Kindler, Madonna, Dr. Phil McGraw, Sarah Jessica Parker, Joaquin Phoenix, Julia Roberts, Ray Romano (who received a development deal from Letterman’s company Worldwide Pants which became the blockbuster hit “Everybody Loves Raymond”), Adam Sandler, Amy Sedaris, Martha Stewart, Jay Thomas, Donald Trump, and Bruce Willis.
Darlene Love continued what is now a 27-year tradition of singing “Christmas, Baby Please Come Home” the last show of each year. Popular NBC regular segments have continued, but Letterman has become even more involved with the audience through “Know Your Current Events,” “Stump the Band,” “Is This Anything?,” “Audience Show and Tell,” and “Will it Float?.”
On a more serious note, his insightful and piercing questions have unsettled many politicians and newsmakers, including Joe Biden, Rod Blagojevich, Tony Blair, George W. Bush, Herman Cain, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Rudy Giuliani, Al Gore, John McCain, and Barack Obama. Following the devastating terrorist attacks in New York City, other late night shows and comedians waited for Letterman’s show to return so his would be the first entertainment voice everyone heard to discuss the events.
Letterman had overseen several empathetic episodes following his heart surgery in early 2000. Rocker Warren Zevon was terminally ill in 2002 when Letterman and the show devoted a full hour in a tearful tribute to him. And his show following the death of Carson in 2005 featured several monologue jokes written by his mentor and a discussion of his life and career.
The CBS program won the Emmy for Best Variety Series in 1994 and later followed with five consecutive victories in that same category (1998-2002). It has also won three technical categories for a total haul of nine awards.
Letterman co-hosted the Emmy Awards in 1986 with Shelley Long and infamously helmed the Academy Awards ceremony in 1995. He inducted another idol Steve Allen into the TV Academy’s Hall of Fame in 1986 and was part of Carson’s Kennedy Center Honor tribute in 1993.April 3, 2014 at 4:09 pm #315528
What a career and I am sad to see him go. He is constantly consistant and always put on an entertaining show. He set the bar high for all talk show hosts and whoever will take over for him.April 3, 2014 at 7:40 pm #315529
Quite frankly I’m shocked that one of the top entertainment news stories of the year only has 3 replies to it so far.
IMO Craig Ferguson deserves to be asked, and if not, CBS better have an excellent reason, and oodles of money to keep Craig quiet and happy. Business Insider.com says he has right of first refusal. I don’t want Neil Patrick Harris to replace him.April 3, 2014 at 8:56 pm #315530
I am disappointed that I did not truly get to see him in his heyday, as
he is so revered, but has seemed pretty pedestrian lately.
Stewart keeps extending his contract to whatever Letterman has, so we
shall see if that has been more coincidental or just keeping options or
if it really is because he is still gunning for The Late Show.
you have right of refusal or whatever, then it would be hard to turn
down, but maybe Ferguson does like the freedom of his later timeslot or
recognize that he does not have mainstream appeal.April 3, 2014 at 9:35 pm #315531
I was in Washington, DC when Dave started his career as a national talk show host. He was charming, irreverent, with that gap-tooth grin and glasses (who else wore glasses as talk show host?) I had a friend who was interning at NBC then and who said he could get me tickets to Dave’s show, but it was for a very advanced date and i couldn’t commit to that. Now i have just a year or so left to catch his show before he calls it a day.
April 3, 2014 at 10:02 pm #315532
I think Letterman is the best ever. Congrats to him on an amazing career.
When I look at the ‘newbie’ hosts replacing the old guys in late night, it does not look promising to me.April 3, 2014 at 11:04 pm #315533
Craig Ferguson seems like the most genuinely nice guy on late night these days. I like Jimmy Fallon, but during Late Night he always seemed to be mugging to get the Tonight Show spot, and the same with Seth Meyers. Craig instead does whatever he likes, and because of that he has a large group of fans (which includes myself) but also his brand of silly humor won’t really be loved by many Letterman fans. He deserves all the success he can get, but I don’t know if he will last long as Letterman’s successor.
Here are some other options that have been mentioned or I thought of:
- Conan O’Brien. This is the obvious choice. He’s quite a legendary talk show host, Letterman supported him through the whole scandal with Jay Leno and he and Letterman have the same sardonic sense of humor. However, Conan seems happy on TBS, and I don’t think he’d want to move around again
- Neil Patrick Harris. This is a choice that’s been mentioned a lot, and the thing about this is yes, NPH is CBS’ go-to host, but this isn’t the Emmys which are one night only. This is every weeknight, and I don’t know how adept Harris is at being consistently funny and forming a fan base who will tune in to watch him nightly. He’s got the same smirking, goofy likability that Jimmy Fallon does, so many people will rather flip over to NBC at that time to watch the pro do it. It would be interesting to see NPH in a talk show position, but I’d rather have Craig Ferguson replace Letterman and NPH replace Ferguson. But his sidekick HAS to be Hugh Jackman
- Ray Romano. This man starred on CBS’ biggest hit sitcom, and what has he done of note lately? Men of a Certain Age? Ice Age? Romano is bitingly hilarious at times, and has the good-guy goofiness of Letterman. I don’t see him being a long-term host, but a host for around a decade until another Jimmy Fallon pops up? I can definitely see Romano taking the chair in the Ed Sullivan Theatre
- Drew Carey. Another hilarious individual. His hosting of Ferguson’s show this week was actually very funny, and imagine how great it will be to have the two paired one after the other night after night. It would be a hosting friendship to rival Jimmy Fallon and Seth Meyers
Ill post more when I think of moreApril 3, 2014 at 11:25 pm #315534
Remember how including replays, the Seinfeld reunion was the most-watched Super Bowl advertisement this year? I wonder if someone will want to cash in on that.April 4, 2014 at 8:36 am #315535
I think there are three people who could replace him.
3) Craig FergusonApril 4, 2014 at 11:09 pm #315536
The NYT has an article on this and they think it may be between Tina Fey and Stephen Colbert.April 5, 2014 at 11:34 pm #315537
I’m just concerned about Tina Fey – she would be amazing, but I think she values the relationship with Lorne Michaels very much, and I’m not sure he’d be too pleased with her leaving NBC to go to a rival networkApril 6, 2014 at 11:34 am #315538
They need to go with a woman. There are numerous funny women who would be great on that show, or if Craig Ferguson takes over, numerous women would be great on The Late Late Show. Tina Fey is one, but she seems very dedicated to NBC. Chelsea Handler is leaving E! after her contract ends, so they could go with her. But she may be deemed too offensive for their liking. There’s also Joy Behar they could go with, but she just left The View, and who knows if she would want to do another show so soon.
They need to look into women, because I am tired of men ruling late night TV, when there are plenty of funny women available.April 10, 2014 at 9:07 am #315539
Yes, it’s unfortunately true: http://tvline.com/2014/04/10/stephen-colbert-david-letterman-the-late-show-host/
Fuckity fuck fuck. Craig Ferguson was next in line and he got royally f’d.April 10, 2014 at 9:11 am #315540
They missed their mark here. Tina Fey would have been a great replacement. I don’t really think Craig Ferguson wanted the job. He’s never seemed like he wanted it that bad.
Here’s hoping they asked Tina and she passed on it. Because if they didn’t, they messed up big time!