David had previously talked about this with Moonves. He had said in so many words that Moonves was good to him and so was the network. But he also said in a tired accent that he wanted to throw in the towel.
However, when David Letterman made the revelation before his audience there was shocked silence for a few seconds. The crowd at the Ed Sullivan Theater just couldn’t believe their ears. David Letterman is known as the grandfather of late night TV.
He has such a solid reputation as a master of conversation and comedic sequences. When he told the news to Leslie Moonves this morning, Leslie immediately posted comments lauding Letterman’s unforgettable career.
Leslie spoke of how Letterman was the greatest talent of the age and mentioned his comic predilection which made him a source of pride for the network. Leslie said that the years and years that Letterman gave to CBS had been a truly memorable ride together.
There was only one David Letterman according to Leslie. The man was virtual dynamo that had conducted the most incisive interviews and done skits that elicited fits of laughter. He will always remain a part of the CBS family.
David had been on air for a time exceeding the legendary Johnny Carson. He had a potent competitor in the form of Jay Leno, but Jay just left his job two months ago. It is a fact that CBS will have a difficult time finding a replacement for David Letterman…a man like no other!
Leslie Moonves statement about David Letterman retirement is given below:
"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. During that time, Dave has given television audiences thousands of hours of comedic entertainment, the sharpest interviews in late night, and brilliant moments of candor and perspective around national events. He's also managed to keep many celebrities, politicians and executives on their toes – including me. There is only one David Letterman. His greatness will always be remembered here, and he will certainly sit among the pantheon of this business. On a personal note, it's been a privilege to get to know Dave and to enjoy a terrific relationship. 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."