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David Letterman announces retirement from Late Show

    David Letterman has announced he will retire as host of the Late Show in 2015, according to Variety.

    Following a lengthy stint as host of NBC’s Late Night, Letterman launched Late Show on CBS in 1993 after being snubbed of NBC’s The Tonight Show. He has since hosted over 4,000 episodes spanning 21 seasons, and though he rarely achieved the ratings success of his longtime rival, Jay Leno, he was a critical darling.

    Letterman has also welcomed music’s biggest names to his stage, everyone from Paul McCartney to Jay Z to Radiohead. It was the place where R.E.M. made their TV debut, Adele was first introduced to American audiences, and Madonna said the F-word 14 times. Especially of late, Letterman has become particularly supportive of newer, up-and-coming musical guests: his reactions to Future Islands and The Orwells in particular became viral video sensations.

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    Letterman also launched a music webcast series dubbed Live on Letterman, where musicians played an hour-long set at the Ed Sullivan Theater. The series has featured Gorillaz, Ryan Adams, and Queens of the Stone Age, just to name a few.

    It’s unclear who will replace Letterman, though candidates could include The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart and former Late Night host Conan O’Brien, both of whom will have expiring TV contracts in 2015. Click here for a full list of potential replacements.

    Update: Watch Letterman announce his retirement below.

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