Mike Mills, founding bassist of the rock group R.E.M., claims that David Letterman will announce his pending retirement on tonight’s episode of the Late Show. Mills, who will be appearing on tonight’s episode to perform with former bandmate Peter Buck along with singer Joseph Arthur, stated “Dave just announced his retirement” via Twitter several minutes ago. Letterman tapes his episodes in the mid afternoon, which lines up with the timing of Mills’ claim.
Although the account claiming to belong to Mike Mills is not officially verified by Twitter itself, his previous tweet was a photo of himself backstage at the Letterman taping, seemingly confirming that the account is indeed valid. That means that unless Mills is attempting to pull off a belated April Fools prank, Letterman is indeed retiring in 2015 and the announcement will be broadcast tonight.
Letterman, who has been at CBS in the 11:35pm time slot for more than twenty years, had been the lone long term stalwart even as longtime rival Jay Leno retired (twice) while other hosts like Conan O’Brien have shifted around the dial. Letterman had been widely expected to inherit the NBC Tonight Show from Johnny Carson, but the gig went to Leno instead, prompting Letterman’s shift to CBS.
R.E.M. disbanded four years ago, but while singer Michael Stipe has since retired from the music industry altogether, Mike Mills and Peter Buck have continued to appear in various musical capacities together and separately.
It’s not immediately clear whether Letterman will be succeeded by longtime 12:35am CBS host Craig Ferguson, or whether outside talent will be brought in.