UPDATED, with video of full announcement: David Letterman stunned his Late Show studio audience today when he abruptly announced that he will retire next year. He began by telling the studio crowd he will be celebrating his 67th birthday in about a week (April 12), at which time, he said, he will have spent about half his life “behind this desk” and “in makeup.” At CBS, he said, he’s done 4,014 shows, At NBC, he did 1,810 shows. He hosted a short-lived NBC morning show before that, doing 90 episodes. “What this represents is 5,914 — almost 6,000 shows, ladies and gentlemen.” One story about spotting an immature bald eagle later, Letterman announced, after thanking his staff, CBS and his viewers: “We don’t have the timing of this precisely down; it will be at least a year or so. But at some time in the not too distant future — 2015, for the love of God — in fact, Paul and I will be wrapping things up and taking a hike.”

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