David Letterman plans to retire in 2015. The legendary late-night host announced the news during today's Late Show taping. Letterman's longtime rival Jay Leno left The Tonight Show (again) earlier this year, leaving many to wonder when Letterman would decide to walk away. "We don't have the timing for this precisely down," Letterman told his audience. "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." Letterman received a standing ovation as he shared news of his pending retirement.
As for who will take over the Late Show, CBS' succession plan might not be as obvious as the smooth transition NBC recently enjoyed between Leno and Jimmy Fallon. The network has never officially confirmed that Craig Ferguson, host of The Late Late Show, would be next in line. It's believed Ferguson's contract gives him first dibs on inheriting the show, but Deadline Hollywood founder Nikki Finke claims that CBS is eyeing none other than Stephen Colbert to succeed Letterman.
Letterman 2015 Replacement: My sources say Stephen Colbert "the only one on the air currently that CBS is considering."— Nikki Finke (@NikkiFinke) April 3, 2014
Late Show with David Letterman premiered on August 30th, 1993, and was CBS' answer to NBC's The Tonight Show. Letterman came to the network after NBC chose Leno to succeed the iconic Carson. That fateful decision is still regarded as one of the most controversial in television history, as even Carson himself considered Letterman the rightful heir to his Tonight Show chair. But Letterman has carved out his own slot in history at CBS, passing Carson last year to become the longest-serving late-night talk show host in TV history.
"There is only one David Letterman," said Leslie Moonves, president of CBS, in a statement. "It's going to be tough to say goodbye. Fortunately, we won’t have to do that for another year or so. Until then, we look forward to celebrating Dave’s remarkable show and incredible talents."