How Letterman Broke the News to His Staff – and Les Moonves

Longtime “Late Show” employees didn’t find out until shortly before Thursday’s taping

Last Updated: August 4, 2014 @ 10:32 AM

David Letterman is stepping down from CBS’ “The Late Show” in 2015, and while the whole world knows now, his employees and his boss didn’t find out until shortly before Thursday’s taping.

Letterman explained that he gave the word to CBS Chairman and CEO Leslie Moonves about an hour before the taping began. That conversation didn’t come as a complete surprise to Moonves, as the two had previous discussions about Letterman’s future on the show. But an insider with knowledge of the situation told TheWrap that Moonves had been told by Letterman’s representatives at CAA that they expected Letterman to re-up for two more years, so he was caught off guard.

The news then spread over social media, as much breaking news does.

Letterman’s decision to step down shouldn’t have been entirely  a shocker to anyone actually, as his last contract re-upping was of the one-year variety — his choice — and the first time he signed such a short-term extension, according to an individual with knowledge of the situation.

See video: Seth Meyers: ‘If It Wasn’t for David Letterman, I Wouldn’t Be Here’

Letterman’s Worldwide Pants staff was told shortly before the taping, on that day, the individual told TheWrap. Letterman probably made the announcement in advance so that the Worldwide Pants staffers — the majority of who have been with him for more than 10 years — who don’t decide to retire will have time to make other plans.

Dave will not un-retire, the individual added, and his Worldwide Pants production company is highly unlikely to continue to produce the “Late Show” after retirement.

The individual said that Dave is just starting to think about what’s next, and with a 10-year-old son, likely won’t disappear off the face of the Earth, a la Johnny Carson.

Sharon Waxman contributed to this report.