For the past 32 years if you turned on the television at night, David Letterman was there. First at Late Night for 11 years and then on his own show on CBS for the past 21 years. He created the Top 10 list; Stupid Pet Tricks and Stupid Human Tricks. If you think about it, the latter two are basically half of You Tube's content. When Late Night started it was a one of a kind show. Nothing like it had ever been seen. I think he realized early on that if he wanted people to stay up really late he was going to have to get their attention. There was the feud with Bryant Gumbel and the people he would talk to in other buildings that he could see from the windows at 30 Rock.
When Letterman moved to CBS he realized a dream of having his own show at the coveted 1130pm slot and then created an empire. He not only owns his show he also owns the Late Late Show and has had a lot of hits with his production company including Everybody Loves Raymond and Strangers With Candy. The thing about Dave is that he always shared everything that was going on his life whether it was good or bad. I remember that first night he came back on the air after 9/11 and how it seemed to give everyone permission to laugh again. Although his ratings have slipped the past few years he did manage to win six Emmy Awards for his show and Leno won only once.
With his retirement there is a definite changing of the guard and I think it is great that he is going out on his own terms on his own date and will have a farewell year that will be a great time to reminisce. He will be missed.
Possible replacement choices include Craig Ferguson and Neil Patrick Harris.