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David Letterman retiring next year

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David Letterman launched his CBS show in 1993. (Source: MGN Online) David Letterman launched his CBS show in 1993. (Source: MGN Online)

(RNN) – David Letterman is retiring from his late night show next year.

Letterman made the announcement at Thursday's taping.

"Letterman just announced his retirement. Historical night. Privileged to be here," musician Joseph Arthur, who is playing on Thursday's show, tweeted.

An exact date for his final show hasn't been determined.

"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," CBS President Les Moonves said in a statement.

"There is only one David Letterman. His greatness will always be remembered here, and he will certainly sit among the pantheon of this business."

Letterman hosted Late Night with David Letterman on NBC from 1982-1993.

He launched the Late Show with David Letterman on CBS in 1993 after he was passed over as successor to Johnny Carson on NBC's The Tonight Show.

Jay Leno got the job instead and a late night ratings war began.

Leno generally bested Letterman in the ratings, but Letterman ultimately outlasted his late night competitor. Leno retired in February, ceding his chair to Jimmy Fallon.

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