David Letterman announced on his show Thursday that he will retire from "Late Show" in 2015. NY1's Budd Mishkin filed the following report.
David Letterman long ago established his place among the greats in late-night television.
When he retires in 2015, he will have hosted a show on network television for 33 consecutive years.
In a statement, CBS president and CEO Les Moonves said, "There is only one David Letterman. His greatness will always be remembered here, and he will certainly sit among the pantheon of this business."
Letterman first appeared as a frequent guest and then substitute host on "The Tonight Show" in the late '70s.
The first show of his own was a morning show on NBC in 1980. It didn't last long, but the seeds of his late night show were there.
"Late Night with David Letterman" on NBC debuted in 1982, and the 12:30 a.m. show quickly struck a chord, especially with younger audiences. It featured the top 10 list, man-on-the-street interviews, elevator races and other elements, some borrowed from previous late night shows, all with a specific Letterman stamp.
Some of the most memorable shows came, ironically, with his friend Jay Leno as a guest.
But when Johnny Carson retired in 1992, NBC chose Leno over Letterman to be Carson's successor, setting off a public brouhaha that led to numerous articles, a book and a movie.
CBS then gave Letterman his own 11:30 p.m. show opposite "The Tonight Show." It was telling that when Johnny Carson chose to appear on one show after his retirement, he went on Letterman.
All of the greats of show business and politics have appeared on the show.
There is no specific timetable for a final show, but Letterman said it will come at some point in 2015, one final night of Letterman.