David Letterman’s final broadcast of “The Late Show” will air on Wednesday, May 20, CBS announced.
Back in April, the legendary host took everyone (including his network and staff) by surprise when he told his audience during a broadcast that he would retire in 2015. The reason was long and complicated, but basically, his heart wasn’t really in it after three decades in late-night television.
Letterman, 67, is famous for redefining the late-night show format when he launched NBC’s “Late Night” in 1982. When he didn’t land “The Tonight Show” gig after a much-publicized battle for Johnny Carson’s seat, he went over to CBS in 1993 to start “The Late Show.”
During his 22 years at CBS, “The Late Show” racked up 73 Emmy nominations and won nine of them, CBS said in its release on Wednesday. And as of May 20, Letterman will have hosted 6,028 episodes of late-night television. Naturally, there will be lots of special episodes leading up to Letterman’s goodbye — he’s already started getting a little nostalgic about the end.
“David Letterman has given to all of us a remarkable legacy of achievement and creative brilliance that will never be forgotten,” CBS president Leslie Moonves said in a statement. “It’s going to be tough to say goodbye, but I know we will all cherish the shows leading up to Dave’s final broadcast in May.”
As Vulture notes, May 20 is the end of the broadcast TV season and May sweeps, so CBS hopes to cash in on some big ratings. And nope, no word on when his replacement Stephen Colbert will take over after that. “The Colbert Report” ends on Dec. 18.