Fact: TV Show host David Letterman is the longest serving host passing out Johnny Carson with 31 years.
Johnny Carson had been recorded as the longest serving late night talk show host for the “The Tonight Show” since 1992. But in 2013 David Letterman superseded him. In April of 2014, David Letterman announced to the world and on CBS that he would be retiring in 2015 after 33 years of producing and hosting the “Late Show with David Letterman.” Also, he announced that Stephen Colbert would be the individual that would succeed him.
Letterman started his broadcasting career as an announcer and newscaster at the college’s student-run radio station (WBST – 10 watt campus). He would be fired from his job for not giving classical music reverence, then later became involved in the founding of campus station WAGO-AM 570 (now 91.3). David Letterman credits Paul Dixon, host of Paul Dixon Show for inspiring his choice of career.
After school Letterman began his career on WNTS and WLWI in Indianapolis as an anchor, and weatherman. He started gathering notoriety for his antic behavior on-air for making jokes about the local news like tropical storm being upgraded to hurricanes. By 1971, Letterman made it to ABC Sports where he got to interview Mario Andretti, who had just crashed out of a race. He went by the name Chris Economaki. Years later, he started becoming a regular writer for the six-week summer series The Starland Vocal Band Show. He would go on to gain appearances on Mork and Mindy, The $20,000 Pyramid, and others. This would lead to gaining the attention of the scouts on the tonight show with Johnny Carson, whom he would become a regular on the show with.
And in 1980, Letterman was given his own show on NBC called, The David Letterman Show. In 1992, David Letterman lost out to Jay Leno for NBC’s Late Show Johnny Carson, to which, Leno would become the rating victor. After which, Letterman bolted from CBS. Even Leno would see his successor two decades later with The Late Show with Jimmy Fallon (2009), then The Late Show with Stephen Colbert (2014), when Fallon moved over to replace Leno at the Tonight Show.
Since than, David Letterman has established more than 6,028 shows on two separate networks. In an interview with NPR prior to Letterman’s retirement, he stated:
“Because now I realized, oh, yeah, you got to be younger, really, to do this job. And so I thought I don’t want to be the old man left out here, you know, fighting for scraps and crumbs.”