Another one of the late night talk show fixtures is taking his leave from the limelight. David Letterman is following Jay Leno right out the door and heading into retirement. The man is 66 and has been at the helm of the “Late Show” for decades. His gap-tooth smile has been a fixture in the late night arena for 32 years and now it is all going to be coming to an end.
David Letterman shocked his fans when he made the announcement about his impending retirement on Thursday, April 3. He opened his show as usual and it wasn’t until the show was underway that he dropped the retirement bombshell. Apparently, he surprised the CEO of CBS with the news earlier and then felt the need to let all of his fans know his time in the chair was coming to an end. “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,” he explained.
The funnyman has dealt with plenty of television politics during his career, but he proved he had what it took to bring in the ratings. He left NBC in 1993 when they handed Johnny Carson’s show over to Jay Leno. That seems to be a bit of a thing in the late night talk show arena. It is certainly a cutthroat world, but David Letterman proved himself and hung on by his fingernails. He has become an iconic figure in the celebrity world and has earned the respect of many celebrities.
Now, as his retirement looms, the big question on everybody’s minds is who will get his coveted spot. Jimmy Fallon just took over for Jay Leno and seems to be fitting in just fine. In fact, one rumor that has popped up blames Fallon’s success for David’s surprise retirement announcement. One industry insider reveals, “Fallon is getting record ratings so Letterman will segue out while he’s still on top. It’s dignified. If Fallon weren’t so hot, he might have stuck around longer.” The jabber jaw also blames David’s troubled ticker for the retirement. The dude is 66. Who wouldn’t want to retire and enjoy all that cash he has amassed during his time in television?
There are plenty of names that are already being tossed around, but the network isn’t saying a word. Craig Ferguson, whose show is produced by the same production company as David Letterman’s show, is an option. Jimmy Kimmel is also up for grabs and would certainly provide some stiff competition against the new kid on the block, Jimmy Fallon. And Kimmel, who is with ABC, isn’t totally opposed to taking over for Letterman. His contract with ABC just happens to be up in a year as well, but he is hesitant to bail out on the network.
We mustn’t forget Chelsea Handler who announced earlier this week she is dumping the E! Network at the end of this year. Maybe she is gunning for the vacant spot. There is no shortage of people who would love to take over for David Letterman. The network must make the decision whether or not they want to cater to the younger generation like NBC or maintain their more mature audience with a host that older people could appreciate.