David Letterman is set to retire in 2015.
David Letterman is set to retire in 2015.

David Letterman set to retire in 2015 as CBS host

CBS late night host David Letterman announced that he's retiring in 2015.

The 66-year-old announced the news to his audience during a taping for a show due to screen later today in the US.

CBS is yet to release an official statement, but the show's bassist, Mike Mills, relayed the news on Twitter.

The Late Show with David Letterman has been on CBS since 1992. Before that, Letterman hosted the Late Show on NBC, which began in 1982.

"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,'' Letterman said.

"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,'" Letterman told his studio audience.

He added to a standing ovation in the Ed Sullivan Theater: "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."

In a statement, Moonves said: "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.

"For 21 years, David Letterman has graced our Network's air in late night with wit, gravitas and brilliance unique in the history of our medium.

"During that time, 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."

The news comes as Letterman recently surpassed Johnny Carson as the longest-running host in late-night TV history.

There's been a huge reaction on Twitter with tributes from former guests and television personalities.

 "It's been 31 incredible years. Television won't be the same without you, Dave,'' Ellen DeGeneres tweeted.