David Letterman Announces Retirement from ‘Late Night’

Posted April 4, 2014 by J Matthew Cobb in News

The Top Ten list creator will roll out his last countdown as host of late show

The Ed Sullivan Theater will be losing their longtime tenant in the near future.

Today, late night TV host legend David Letterman announced on his Late Night with David Letterman program (slated to air tonight) that he would be retiring. “We’ve had this conversation in the past and we agreed that we would work together on this circumstance and the timing of the circumstance, and I phoned him before the program and I said, ‘Leslie, it’s been great, you’ve been great but I am retiring,” Letterman said.

“You actually did this?,” said Late Show musical director Paul Shaffer.

“Yes I did.”

Letterman continued his words of gratitude and even blurted out a smart joke: “I just want to reiterate my thanks and for the support from the network, all the people who have worked here…everybody at home, thank you very much. And what this means now is that Paul and I can be married.”

He went on to announce that the actual countdown has not been set, but that the last day would be sometime in “2015 for the love of God.” His departure will probably take place when his contract expires.

Darlene Love, who has performed her holiday classic “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” on Letterman’s late night program every year since 1986, commented on the news on her Facebook page:

“It’s official … Late Show with David Letterman will be ending in 2015 so this year will most likely be my final performance singing “(Christmas Baby) Please Come Home” with my dear friend Paul Shaffer. That’s gonna be a VERY emotional day! ;( End of a wonderful era! 

Former R.E.M. guitarist Mike Mills tweeted the announcement first (“Dave just announced his retirement #2015 #muchlovedave), causing the music blogs and entertainment sources to pick up on the breaking news. Mills, along with R.E.M’s Peter Buck, were in the Ed Sullivan building when the announcement was made because they were backing music guest, singer-songwriter Joseph Arthur.

A little Late Night factoid: When Dave Letterman was at NBC in his familiar ‘Late Night’ slot after Johnny Carson’s The Tonight Show, R.E.M. made their public television debut on their show, performing a then-untitled “So. Central Rain” back in October 1983.

Will you miss David Letterman as a TV host?
What’s your favorite ‘Late Night/Late Show’ memory? 
Who do you think CBS will call to replace him once he leaves?
Share your thoughts. 

About the Author

J Matthew Cobb

Managing editor of HiFi Magazine


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