David Letterman will retire from late-night television on Wednesday, May 20th. The Late Show host’s production company Worldwide Pants announced the news, according to Deadline, with CBS Corp. President and CEO Leslie Moonves praising Letterman’s “remarkable legacy of achievement and creative brilliance [which] will never be forgotten.”
Since premiering on August 30th, 1993, The Late Show has won nine Emmys Awards and garnered 73 Emmy nominations. Prior to launching the CBS show, Letterman made his late-night debut on February 1st, 1982 with the premiere of NBC’s Late Night With David Letterman, which ran over over 11 years. In total, he’s been hosting late-night talk shows for more than 32 years, the longest tenure in the business.
The host first announced his retirement plans during a Late Show taping on April 3rd. Although Letterman didn’t specify a concrete date, he did emphasize that his final show would air during 2015, “for the love of God.”
“The man who owns this network, Leslie Moonves, he and I have had a relationship for years and years and years, and we have had this conversation in the past, and we agreed that we would work together on this circumstance and the timing of this circumstance,” Letterman told the studio audience. “And I phoned him just before the program, and I said, ‘Leslie, it’s been great. You’ve been great. And the network has been great, but I’m retiring.'”
Less than a week later, CBS announced that Colbert Report host Stephen Colbert will replace Letterman as Late Show host. “Simply being a guest on David Letterman’s show has been a highlight of my career,” Colbert said in a statement. “I never dreamed that I would follow in his footsteps, though everyone in late night follows Dave’s lead. I’m thrilled and grateful that CBS chose me. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go grind a gap in my front teeth.”