NEW YORK - David Letterman is retiring next year as host of "Late Show."
During a taping of Thursday's show, Letterman said he has informed CBS that he will step down in 2015, when his current contract expires.
He specified no end date, telling his audience he expects his exit will be in "at least a year or so, but sometime in the not too distant future - 2015, for the love of God - (band leader) Paul (Shaffer) and I will be wrapping things up."
Referring to CBS chairman Leslie Moonves as "the man who owns this network," Letterman said: "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.'"
Along with his network, Letterman thanked "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.
"What this means now," he cracked, "is that Paul and I can be married."
Letterman, who turns 67 next week, has the longest tenure of any late-night talk show host in U.S. television history, already marking 32 years since he created "Late Night" at NBC in 1982.
After losing the "Tonight Show" throne to rival candidate Jay Leno in 1993, he jumped to CBS to start "Late Show."