Talking with Howard Stern tonight, Dave Letterman casually said he’ll probably leave his show in two years. It seemed from the way he talked as if his contract would up then and that he wouldn’t try to renew it. AFAIK, he hasn’t said anything publicly about this recently.
A quick Google search turned up this, a 2008 report that quoted him saying that “The way I feel now, I would like to go beyond 2010, not much beyond, but you know, enough to go beyond.”
Feb. 1, 2012, will mark his 30th anniversary doing a late night show, and at that point he will have been doing a late night show about four months longer than Johnny Carson did the Tonight Show (October 1, 1962 – May 22, 1992), two months longer if you don’t count the two-month break in 1993 between NBC and CBS.
He’s already beaten Johnny in the number of shows: over 5,300 (1,800 on NBC, more than 3,500 on CBS) compared to Johnny’s 4,531. And unlike Johnny, who turned over a large percentage of them to guest hosts (including Letterman) in his later years, Dave has hosted all but a handful himself. His only break was after his heart bypass operation in 2000, when several guest hosts subbed for him for a few weeks.
I’ve been a fan practically since the beginning, and although I admit he’s no longer quite as wild as he was in the 1980s and '90s, it’ll be weird not to end the day with him.