THR's 35 Most Powerful People in Media
Letterman, 64, celebrated his 30th anniversary as a late-night host in January by inviting back Bill Murray, the first guest on his then-NBC late show in February 1982.
Although the field has grown increasingly competitive during the past three decades, with entries from Stephen Colbert to Andy Cohen vying for attention, Letterman’s show
— which moved to CBS in 1993 — still sits atop the TV food chain. In fact, for Hollywood’s A-list, along with D.C. heavyweights including President Obama, Letterman’s Late Show couch is a must-stop on the publicity tour.
This season, the Indiana-born father of one, famous for his dry wit and top-10 lists, is averaging 3.3 million viewers and a 0.9 rating in the all-important 18-to-49 demographic. Despite rumblings about looming retirement, Letterman, who pulled ahead of rival Jay Leno for a period late last year, recently re-upped through 2014.