In a taping for his show on Thursday, April 3, David Letterman announced his retirement on his CBS "Late Show with David Letterman." The television talk show host said he will retire in 2015, when his current contract expires.
The 66-year-old comedian began his late-night career in 1982 when he became the NBC "Late Night" franchise's first host. According to Fox News on April 3, this means Letterman's almost 32-year-tenure has been the longest of any late-night talk show host in U.S. television history.
During the announcement, Letterman said:
“I just want to reiterate my thanks for the support from the network, all of the people who have worked here, all of the people in the theater, all the people on the staff, everybody at home, thank you very much. What this means now, is that Paul and I can be married.”
Paul Shaffer has been the bandleader for both of Letterman's shows since 1982.
CBS Corporation President and CEO Leslie Moonves thanked Letterman for his many years of bringing entertainment to the network.
Moonves said, "For 21 years, David Letterman has graced our network's air in late night with wit, gravitas and brilliance unique in the history of our medium. During that time, Dave has given television audiences thousands of hours of comedic entertainment, the sharpest interviews in late night, and brilliant moments of candor and perspective around national events."
Letterman has been on CBS for so long that some people might have forgotten that he was once on NBC before the network decided to replace "Tonight Show" host Johnny Carson with Jay Leno in 1992. Then Letterman went to CBS, where his "Late Show" became a direct competitor debuting Aug. 30, 1993.
In 1996, David Letterman was ranked #45 on TV Guide's 50 Greatest TV Stars of All Time.
Who will take over Letterman's time slot? The guessing game has already begun; however, some are saying Craig Ferguson, host of "The Late Late Show" will likely be in the running.