David Letterman To Retire From Late Show
After more than two decades, Late Show TV host David Letterman has said he is retiring when his current contract expires in 2015.
During a taping of Thursday's show, the 66-year-old said he had informed broadcaster CBS that he would step down in "at least a year or so, but sometime in the not too distant future - 2015".
He said: "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.
"And I phoned him just before the programme, and I said 'Leslie, it's been great, you've been great, and the network has been great, but I'm retiring.
"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 theatre, all the people on the staff, everybody at home, thank you very much."
Letterman's surprise announcement sparked a standing ovation from his audience at the Ed Sullivan Theatre in Manhattan.
Letterman is famous for his top 10 lists and President Barack Obama tweeted: "There are more than 10 reasons #DavidLetterman will be missed."
The news comes just weeks after Letterman's longtime rival, Jay Leno, retired from NBC's Tonight Show.
Letterman's career as a late night broadcaster has spanned more than 32 years and nearly 6,000 episodes.
He was the first host of Late Night at NBC from 1982-1992, and he has been the only host of Late Show, which he created on CBS in 1993.
The two shows have been nominated for 108 Emmys, winning eight. Late Night received a Peabody in 1992, and Letterman became a Kennedy Centre Honoree in 2012.
Over the decades, Letterman has caught many of his political and celebrity guests off-guard with biting, provocative and humorous inquisition.
Prime Minister David Cameron was famously bamboozled in an impromptu quiz on British history by Letterman in September 2012 when he appeared on his show.
The Eton and Oxford-educated Prime Minister was left stumped when he was asked to explain the meaning of the Magna Carta and which composer penned Rule Britannia.
Remarking on his errors during the interview to host David Letterman, Mr Cameron joked: "That is bad. I have ended my career on your show tonight."
Contenders to replace Letterman include Stephen Colbert, host of The Colbert Report, and Neil Patrick Harris who stars in the comedy How I Met Your Mother.