In somewhat of a
surprise move, David Letterman will leave his late-night CBS show next year -- one he has hosted for the last 21 years -- adding to the disruption of other recent changes in late-night programming.
Letterman made the announcement during the taping of his “Late Show with David Letterman” on Thursday. News of Letterman’s departure came originally from musician Mike Mills,
from the band R.E.M., in a tweet.
Last fall, Letterman, 66, extended his contract through 2015. But there was no word then that this current agreement would be his last contract. Letterman
has hosted "The Late Show" since 1993.
Les Moonves, president/CEO of CBS Corp. stated: “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. 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.”
In February of this year, NBC made a major change by installing Jimmy Fallon as the new host of “The Tonight Show” after a 21-year run by
Leno in 1993 beat out Letterman in securing “The Tonight Show” late-night host spot. Letterman was the founding host of “Late Night” on NBC -- a show that
Fallon hosted from March 2009 to February 2014.
In January 2013, major late-night network programming changes began to occur when ABC decided to move its “Jimmy Kimmel Live”
show earlier to the 11:35 p.m. time slot opposite “The Tonight Show” and “Late Show.”