(ABC News) – It’s the end of an era.
David Letterman announced today that he’ll retire in 2015 when his contract is up.
The announcement was made during a taping of “Late Show with David Letterman,” ABC News confirmed.
“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 program, and I said ‘Leslie, it’s been great, you’ve been great, and the network has been great, but I’m retiring,’” said Letterman, according to reports.
“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.”
Moonves also expressed his gratitude to Letterman for his “wit, gravitas and brilliance.”
“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,” he said in a statement. “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,” he continued. “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.”
Letterman also made mention of Paul Shaffer, his longtime musical director.
“What this means now, is that Paul and I can be married,” Letterman said. “We don’t have the timetable for this precisely down – I think it will be at least a year or so, but sometime in the not too distant future, 2015 for the love of God, in fact, Paul and I will be wrapping things up.”
At the end of his speech, his audience reportedly gave him a standing ovation.
Letterman, 66, launched the late night show in 1993 at the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York City. Known for his wit and acerbic asides, Letterman has hosted the show without many interruptions, saved for his bypass surgery in 2000.
Married to Regina Lasko since 2009, the two have a son, Henry, who was born in 2003.