David Letterman is ready to pass the "Late Show" torch. The veteran comedian announced during the Thursday, April 3 taping of "Late Show with David Letterman" that he would retire as host of the show in 2015, around the conclusion of his current contract that will expire in August 2015.
"(Les Moonves, CBS Corp President and CEO) and I ... 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," Letterman told his audience. "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.' "
"What this means now, is that Paul and I can be married," he joked, before adding, "It will be at least a year or so, but sometime in the not too distant future, 2015 for the love of God."
Moonves has reacted to Letterman's retirement announcement. "When Dave decided on a one-year extension for his most recent contract, we knew this day was getting closer, but that doesn't make the moment any less poignant for us," he said.
"For 21 years, David Letterman has graced our network's air in late night with wit, gravitas and brilliance unique in the history of our medium. There is only one David Letterman. His greatness will always be remembered here, and he will certainly sit among the pantheon of this business."
President Barack Obama, who has sat down for an interview with Letterman on "Late Show", also paid tribute to the 66-year-old TV star. "There are more than 10 reasons #DavidLetterman will be missed," he wrote in a caption of their picture together.
R.E.M.'s bassist Mike Mills, whose band served as musical guest that night, spilled the beans hours earlier. "Dave just announced his retirement #2015 #muchlovedave," he tweeted and later came under attack. In his defense, he wrote again, "300 or so people in the audience, all with mobile phones, someone would have if not me."