David Letterman, the legend of late night talk shows, announced his retirement Thursday night. He will step down from CBS’ “The Late Show” when his contract expires in 2015.
Letterman said he informed CBS Chairman Leslie Moonves before the program. “I said, ‘Leslie, it’s been great, you’ve been great, the network’s been great, but I’m retiring.'”
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Letterman has been a fixture of late night since he started hosting “Late Night” in 1982. He has hosted “The Late Show” since 1993. Now, Letterman says he will retire in 2015.
“We don’t have the timetable for this precisely down — it will be I think 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 and taking a hike,” he said, according to Yahoo! News.
Letterman Could Retire with $500 Million In the Bank
Between salary pay, licensing fees and other earnings, David Letterman has pulled in as much as $50 million a year during his peak as a late night talk show. Most recently, Forbes estimated that Letterman earned $42 million in 2012.
Letterman’s salary, however, has fallen in recent years, as his ratings have lagged behind other late night shows like Jon Stewart’s “The Daily Show” and recently-retired Jay Leno on “The Tonight Show,” according to TV Guide. Currently it’s estimated that Letterman’s salary is around $20 million.
With David Letterman’s net worth estimated to currently be between $400 to $450 million, the host could have close to half a billion dollars in his retirement savings by the time he steps down.
Letterman didn’t end his show without thanking CBS and others who helped his late night career see such success.
“I 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 in the staff — everybody, thank you very much,” he said.
Photo credit: Scott Beale