David Letterman will air his final Late Show on May 20, 2015, CBS announced today. The talk show and comedy eminence grise had previously revealed he would be retiring next year.
In April, Letterman told his audience:
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.'
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.
Moonves said today, "David Letterman has given to all of us a remarkable legacy of achievement and creative brilliance that will never be forgotten. It's going to be tough to say goodbye, but I know we will all cherish the shows leading up to Dave's final broadcast in May."
Vulture points out, "Had Letterman left on a Friday, his last show would have been on May 22 — exactly 23 years to the date Letterman’s idol, Johnny Carson, stepped down as host of The Tonight Show."
Letterman's successor will be Stephen Colbert; the date of his first show has not been announced. Last night, Colbert told James Corden, the British writer-actor who will be taking over The Late Late Show from Craig Ferguson, in March, that things are a lot different than the BBC model of eight shows a year: