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April 4, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

David Letterman’s announcement on Thursday that he intends to retire when his current contract with CBS expires next year immediately triggered waves of speculation about who might succeed him. Most of the talk swirled around Jay Leno and existing cable hosts, including Conan O’Brien, John Stewart, and Stephen Colbert, as well as Ellen DeGeneres. But some writers took a harder look at Letterman’s decision. David Bauder, who covers TV for the Associated Press, noted that with Jimmy Fallon taking over the 11:30 spot on NBC and Jimmy Kimmel on ABC, “David Letterman suddenly seemed old.” Bauder noted that when Leno left late-night in 2009, Letterman at once “ascended to the throne.” But not this time. Fallon has been averaging 5.2 million viewers since he took over the Tonight show, while Letterman has averaged 2.7 million. Not on Thursday night, however. With word leaking out earlier in the day that during the taping of his show, Letterman had announced his retirement, the audience for his show surged. He scored a 3.2 rating and an 8 share while Fallon and Kimmel each garnered a 2.4/6. Those numbers perhaps underline Tim Goodman’s remarks in the Hollywood Reporter that Letterman’s timing “feels right” and that he’s stepping down “on his own terms.”