David Letterman announced while taping Thursday's show that he wil step down from the CBS late-night slot next year. It took him a long time to get to the news, as you can see in the video above. Letterman tells a story that basically confirms his head hasn't really been into the show for awhile, and also quips that he always knew "when this show stops being fun, I will retire 10 years later."
From Bill Carter of the New York Times:
Speculation about Mr. Letterman’s successor will now become a popular parlor game for countless television executives, entertainment writers and late-night fans. Two choices mentioned frequently on Thursday by people at CBS and other networks: Stephen Colbert, the host of Comedy Central’s late-night show, “The Colbert Report,” and Neil Patrick Harris, the star of the recently concluded CBS comedy hit “How I Met Your Mother,” who has scored as host of awards shows on CBS.
Craig Ferguson, who hosts the 12:35 a.m. show on CBS, has also been mentioned as a contender. One executive who has been involved in discussions of CBS’s future in late night said the network would like to move relatively quickly to name a successor.
In his statement on the air, Mr. Letterman said he and Mr. Moonves had spoken several times about how his retirement would be handled. “We agreed that we would work together on this circumstance and the timing of this circumstance,” Mr. Letterman said. “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.' ”
You might recall that certain New York officials crowed about stealing "The Tonight Show" back to the east coast when Jay Leno gave way to Jimmy Fallon. After Letterman's news broke, Mayor Eric Garcetti put out a statement real quick disclosing a communication he sent to Moonves.
Dear Mr. Moonves:
As a longtime fan, I was saddened to hear of David Letterman's retirement. But as Mayor of Los Angeles, I am excited for the opportunity to encourage you to bring CBS' next late night show to our city -- the entertainment capital of the world.
I have made the entertainment industry a key priority for my administration. It's a critical component to our city's economy and identity. I created the Mayor's Office of Motion Picture and Television Production, and under the leadership of Ken Ziffren, we are aggressively seeking to encourage more production here in Los Angeles by cutting red tape, lending proactive assistance, and by furthering public policy to compete with the financial incentives offered by other states.
I look forward to speaking with you about the possibility of bringing the successor to Mr. Letterman's show to Los Angeles.