David Letterman to retire from Late Show next year

After 21 years fronting the The Late Show on CBS, David Letterman has decided to call it a day, making the announcement during the recording of Thursday’s show.

The 66-year-old TV presenter confirmed that he will be leaving some time in 2015. Letterman said to the audience: “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.”

Prior to hosting the Late Show on CBS, Letterman fronted the Late Night series for 11 years on rival network on NBC. He is the longest running late night talk show host in US TV history, according to CBS.

President and CEO of CBS Leslie Moonves said in a statement that there was only “one David Letterman.” Letterman said at the start of the Thursday’s episode that he had called Moonves before the show to tell him his decision to retire.

“When Dave decided on a one-year extension for his most recent contract, we knew this day was getting closer, but that doesn’t make the moment any less poignant for us. 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. He’s also managed to keep many celebrities, politicians and executives on their toes – including me.

There is only one David Letterman. His greatness will always be remembered here, and he will certainly sit among the pantheon of this business. On a personal note, it’s been a privilege to get to know Dave and to enjoy a terrific relationship. It’s going to be tough to say goodbye. Fortunately, we won’t have to do that for another year or so. Until then, we look forward to celebrating Dave’s remarkable show and incredible talents.”

– Full statement from Leslie Moonves, President and CEO of CBS Corporation

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