David Letterman Is Retiring Next Year

David Letterman has announced plans to retire as the host of the Late Show with David Letterman in 2015, when his current contract ends. Letterman first made the announcement during the taping for tonight’s episode. The news broke on Twitter, via Mike Mills, a member of R.E.M. and a guest on the show. Letterman’s announcement will air during the Late Show tonight.

Shortly after, Letterman released a statement confirming his retirement. “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, in fact, Paul an I will be wrapping things up,” Letterman said during his announcement, according to the release.

CBS Corporation CEO Les Moonves also released a statement about Letterman’s retirement. “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 day any less poignant for us,” Moonves says in the statement. “For 21 yeards, David Letterman has graced our Network’s air in late night with wit, gravitas and brilliance unique in the history of our medium … There is only one David Letterman. His greatness will always be remembered here, and he will certainly sit among the pantheon of this business.”

The timing of the retirement makes sense. Letterman represents a more old-school late night show, in contrast to the more internet savvy shows of his competition, Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel. He is, however, a late night legend. Of course there’s no word on Letterman’s replacement just yet, but CBS will assuredly be looking for someone young with a lot of Twitter followers. (And maybe someone non-white and/or non-male? That’s probably asking too much.)

Letterman has been on CBS since 1993. Before that, he hosted Late Night with David Letterman on NBC from 1982 to 1992, until NBC’s first Jay Leno-related late night controversy.

UPDATE: Here’s the video of his announcement: