As David Letterman’s retirement is drawing near, his fellow late night hosts are figuring out ways to honor the key CBS player. NBC’s Jimmy Fallon has already borrowed Letterman’s “Top 10” list for a nice tribute, and now ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel has decided exactly what he would like to do during Letterman’s May 20 finale. Namely, he won’t be doing much of anything, at all.
While May 20 actually falls on a Wednesday, which is right in the middle of Jimmy Kimmel’s work week, the Jimmy Kimmel Live! host says he will be taking the day off. Instead, that evening ABC will air a repeat of an old episode in order to pay tribute to David Letterman and to hopefully get a few more eyeballs geared toward his stage (Plus, honestly, it's probably a nice change up to get a random Wednesday off). Kimmel recently explained to The New York Times that the move is out of deference to his predecessor.
I have too much respect for Dave to do anything that would distract viewers from watching his final show. Plus, I’ll probably be crying all day, which makes it hard to work.
Kimmel’s never been shy about how much Letterman has influenced his own career, and it’s not a huge surprise that the late night host would sacrifice ratings for a respectful gesture. Kimmel is, in fact, the only direct Letterman rival who will be taking the evening off on May 20. Fallon, but also Conan O’Brien, both plan to air a new episode that night, but I can’t imagine the whole evening will go by without either of them at least mentioning that it’s David Letterman’s final evening onstage.
Letterman’s been a part of the late night landscape for years, having hosted Late Night with David Letterman over at NBC for sometime before picking up the gig as The Late Show host on CBS, a position he has held for the last 22 years. When he retires later this month, CBS will have a few months to get replacement host Stephen Colbert ready for the big time; the former Comedy Central Colbert Report host will sit down at his brand new desk on Tuesday, September 8. We'll have to wait and see how he stacks up against the two Jimmys.
CBS has put together a pretty incredible list of stars who have or are expected to pop up on The Late Show with David Letterman before he takes his final bow. Just a few days ago, CBS also aired a special hosted by Ray Ramono that looked at Letterman’s prolific career. Letterman's been so prominent in the news lately, it leaves little doubt that an era is ending. We're just happy to be here for his last hurrah.