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David Letterman Bids Farewell To Late Night TV

Image: David Letterman Bids Farewell To Late Night TV
(Mike Coppola/Getty Images)

Wednesday, 20 May 2015 09:33 PM

The man who for years gave TV viewers Stupid Pet Tricks served them up a simple, human one instead: a definitive goodbye.

David Letterman brought 33 years of latenight antics to a close late Wednesday afternoon by taping his last broadcast of CBS' "The Late Show." In the final show, slated to bebroadcast later this evening, the host acted as if he was hosting just one more program, according to David Oshinsky, a 45-year-old attorney from Los Angeles who attended the taping.

"His demeanor seemed to me as it always is. He did not seem emotional at all. He was clearly cognizant it was the last show, but you would not have read that," Oshinsky said.

Despite his cool demeanor, Letterman brought with him outsize surprises, including an introduction featuring President Barack Obama, President George W. Bush, President Bill Clinton and President George H.W. Bush in videotaped segments. "Our long national nightmare is over," each President said.

Letterman has hosted the program since its 1993 inception, and before that held forth on NBC's "Late Night," a genre-busting effort that he launched in 1982. He has been a pivotal figure in TV's wee-hours schedule for more than 30 years - longer than Johnny Carson's tenure on NBC's "Tonight." During that time, Letterman took the genre away from the rigid formula followed by many talk shows and instead developed an early reputation for irreverence. He would have his crew shoot the smashing of a watermelon as it fell off a five-story building or press Rupert Jee, the owner of a deli located right outside the Ed Sullivan Theater, the "Late Show" home base, to put various pranks into practice. Later on in his tenure, Letterman dropped some of his escapades in favor of unfiltered conversation with guests - and viewers at home.

During Wednesday's taping, which will be the host's 6,028th latenight broadcast, Letterman had to balance those two attributes with the obvious sentiment in the room. Luminaries including Barbara Walters, Steve Martin, Peyton Manning, Steve Martin, Julia Louis Dreyfus, Chris Rock, Alec Baldwin, Jerry Seinfeld, and Bill Murray were among those who took part in a final Top Ten list centered on things the celebrities always wanted to say to the host.

The taping, which ran well over an hour, also featured clips from past shows, said Oshinsky.

The Foo Fighters played "Everlong," and the CBS Orchestra, led by Paul Shaffer, enjoyed time in the Spotlight during a break, Oshinsky said. Letterman described how important the Foo Fighters song was to his recovery from heart surgery in 2000.

Letterman spent a good amount of time thanking his "Late Show" writers, producers and crew. But he finished the program as if it were any other, Oshinsky said, telling the audience, "And now I'm going to do this for the last time: Thank you and good night."

 

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The man who for years gave TV viewers Stupid Pet Tricks served them up a simple, human one instead: a definitive goodbye. David Letterman brought 33 years of latenight antics to a close late Wednesday afternoon by taping his last broadcast of CBS' The Late Show. In the...
david, letterman, signs, off
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2015-33-20
Wednesday, 20 May 2015 09:33 PM
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