David Letterman has announced his retirement from "The Late Show." While the announcement will air tonight on CBS, the clip has been made available via the show's YouTube page. In classic Letterman fashion, the comedian ended with a joke, stating, "What this means now, is Paul [Shaffer] and I can be married."
Fans met the casually delivered announcement with an uncomfortable pause, not knowing whether the funnyman was joking or not. Band leader Shaffer chimed in to make sure they realized the announcement was real, and the audience proceeded to give the beloved host a standing ovation.
Letterman is expected to leave CBS in 2015. The long-time late night host signed a two-year deal with the network in 2013.
At the time he retires, Letterman will have headed "The Late Show" for 22 years. He was Johnny Carson's heir apparent on NBC before he was passed over for Jay Leno. With Leno leaving NBC, Letterman may feel justified retiring after outlasting his competitor.
Also of note is Fallon's overwhelming success on "The Tonight Show." CBS may be looking for new blood to stimulate revenue via new media. A recent report from the AP and done by social media research firm Relishmix stated that Fallon generated more than 120 million YouTube views, Facebook posts, and Twitter mentions in his first month as head of "The Tonight Show." Jimmy Kimmel was responsible for 57 million hits in the same social media metric, while Letterman lagged far behind both of his younger competitors with only 2.3 million impressions.
Take a look at the video below, and get ready for Dave's long goodbye.