×

David Letterman: 33 Years in Latenight by the Numbers

The numbers have been crunched on David Letterman’s 33-year run in latenight. As of his final night on May 20, Letterman will have presided over 6,028 broadcasts in latenight, counting his 1982-93 run at NBC in addition to his CBS tenure.

Here’s the rundown released today by CBS:

  • “Late Night With David Letterman” had 1,810 broadcasts and ran for 595 weeks.
  • The Late Show With David Letterman” has had 4,214 broadcasts, as well as four primetime specials, and has run for 1,135 weeks.

The first face to appear on both “Late Night” and the “Late Show” was that of Calvert DeForest (or, as he was known on “Late Night,” “Larry ‘Bud’ Melman”).

Bill Murray was the first guest on the premiere broadcasts of both “Late Night” on Feb. 1, 1982, and “The Late Show” on CBS on August 30, 1993. As of May 20, 2015, he will have appeared on Letterman’s latenight talk shows 44 times: 12 appearances on “Late Night”; 32 on the “Late Show.”

Over 33 years, Letterman’s talk shows have received 16 Emmy Awards and 112 Emmy Award nominations.

  • “Late Night” won five Emmy Awards and received 35 Emmy nominations.
    “Late Show” won nine Emmys and received 72 nominations.
    Letterman’s 1980 daytime program, “The David Letterman Show,” earned two Emmys and five nominations.

As of May 20, 2015, there will have been 19,932 guest appearances in more than 33 years on Letterman’s latenight shows:

  • “Late Night” – 5,850 guest appearances
  • “Late Show” – 14,082 guest appearances (approximate)

Over the years, two of Letterman’s signature segments have been Stupid Pet Tricks and Stupid Human Tricks. The very first Stupid Pet Tricks segment made its debut on Letterman’s morning show, “The David Letterman Show,” on June 26, 1980, and the first Stupid Human Tricks segment premiered on “Late Night” on Oct. 3, 1983.

There have been a total of 126 Stupid Pet Tricks segments on Letterman’s late night shows:

  • “Late Night”: 73 segments
  • “Late Show”: 53 segments

There have been a total of 89 Stupid Human Tricks segments:

  • “Late Night”: 30 segments
  • “Late Show”: 59 segments

The king of “Late Night” appearances was sportscaster Marv Albert, with 73 to his credit. Other top guests:

  • Richard Lewis 48 appearances
    George Miller, Tom Brokaw 40 appearances
    Jay Leno 39 appearances
    Teri Garr, Robert Klein 30 appearancesRegis Philbin holds the title  for most ‘Late Show’ appearances, with a total of 136. Other top “Late Show” guest appearances (as of May 20, 2015) are:
  • Jack Hanna 75 appearances
    Tony Randall 70 appearances
    Marv Albert 52 appearances
    Tom Brokaw 49 appearances

The first Top Ten List, “Things That Almost Rhyme With Peas,” was presented on “Late Night” on Sept. 18, 1985. In 33 years, Letterman will have presented 4,605 Top Ten Lists on his latenight programs.

“Late Night”: 1,009 Top Ten Lists
“Late Show”: 4,605 Top Ten Lists

Letterman’s fictional Top Ten Office has made its home in 11 different cities. The state of Nebraska earns the distinction of having the most Top Ten Home Offices than any other state, with a total of three. The Top Ten Home Offices from all 25 years are:

o Milwaukee, Wisc. (the first “Late Night” home office)
o Lebanon, Pa.
o Lincoln, Neb.
o Oklahoma City, Okla.
o Omaha, Neb.
o Scottsdale, Ariz.
o Tahlequah, Okla.
o Oneonta, N.Y. (the last “Late Night” home office)
o Sioux City, Iowa (the first “Late Show” home office)
o Grand Rapids, Mich.
o Wahoo, Neb. (the current “Late Show” home office)

·The “Late Night” and “Late Show” theme songs were both written and composed by Paul Shaffer.

· On “Late Night,” Letterman donned a number of different “suits.” Most memorable was the “Suit of Velcro,” which he first wore on Feb. 28, 1984. While wearing the suit, he ran, jumped on a trampoline and hurled himself at a Velcro wall, to which he stuck. Other “suits” include:

o Suit of Alka-Seltzer – Wearing protective goggles and an oxygen tank, he was lowered into a 1,000-gallon tank of water, whereupon his suit began to fizz and vaporize.
o Suit of Magnets – He attached himself to the door of an oversized GE refrigerator.
o Suit of Marshmallows – An attempt to roast the marshmallows by a propane torch failed, so the studio audience got to snack on Dave.
o Suit of Chips – Dave was lowered into a glass tank filled with 1,000 gallons of yogurt dip.
o Suit of Rice Krispies – He “snap, crackled and popped” after being dunked in a large tub of milk.
o Suit of Suet – Dave donned a suit of suet-and-birdseed packets and entered a pen of farm animals (including goats and chickens) that fed on him.
o Suit of Sponges – He was dunked in a 1,000-gallon glass tank of water and tipped the scale at 500 pounds.

More TV

  • Caroline Flack

    'Love Island’ Pulled For Second Night After Former Host Caroline Flack’s Death

    For a second consecutive night, ‘Love Island’ will not air on U.K. broadcaster ITV2 following the death of former host Caroline Flack, Variety has confirmed. An ITV spokesman said: “Many people at ITV knew Caroline well and held her in great affection. All of us are absolutely devastated at this tragic news.” “After careful consultation between [...]

  • Caroline Flack

    Caroline Flack's Death Prompts U.K. Petition Demanding Media Inquiry

    A petition calling on the U.K. government to launch an inquiry into British media coverage of public figures has garnered close to 206,000 signatures. The death of former “Love Island” host Caroline Flack, one of the country’s most popular TV personalities, spurred the initiative, which asks government to investigate the press following “the maltreatment of [...]

  • Caroline Flack

    'Love Island' Host's Shock Death Revives Concerns Around Mental Health, Media Scrutiny

    The death of popular “Love Island” host Caroline Flack has sent shockwaves across the U.K. and again raised long-running concerns about broadcaster ITV’s support of cast members on the hit reality competition as well as the country’s intense media scrutiny of public figures. Flack, one of the U.K.’s most recognizable reality hosts, was found dead [...]

  • Caroline Flack'ITV Palooza!', Royal Festival Hall,

    Caroline Flack, Former 'Love Island' Host, Dies at 40

    Caroline Flack, the former host of the U.K. reality competition, “Love Island,” has died. She was 40. “Everybody at ‘Love Island’ and ITV is shocked and saddened by this desperately sad news. Caroline was a much loved member of the ‘Love Island’ team and our sincere thoughts and condolences are with her family and friends,” [...]

  • Lynn Cohen

    Lynn Cohen, Magda on 'Sex and the City,' Dies at 86

    Lynn Cohen, a veteran stage and screen actor who played Magda on “Sex and the City,” died Friday. She was 86. Magda was Miranda Hobbe’s (Cynthia Nixon) housekeeper and eventually her nanny, and Cohen also appeared in both film adaptations of the show. She talked to Cosmopolitan about her role in 2018. “It showed a [...]

  • 'Outlander's' Sophie Skelton on Brianna's PTSD,

    'Outlander's' Sophie Skelton on Brianna's PTSD, Motherhood in Season 5 (SPOILERS)

    SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you haven’t yet watched the Season 5 premiere of “Outlander,” entitled “The Fiery Cross,” streaming now on the Starz app. In the Season 5 premiere of “Outlander,” Brianna (Sophie Skelton) gets confirmation of something viewers have suspected since the Season 4 finale — that her rapist, Stephen Bonnet (Ed [...]

  • Netflix's 'Love is Blind' Pods

    How Netflix’s New Reality Series ‘Love is Blind’ Works

    Apologies to “The Bachelor,” ‘Love Island” and “90 Day Fiance” — you’re all decomposing roses compared to the majesty of Netflix’s out-of-left-field SENSATION, “Love is Blind.” The premise of this “experiment,” a label this reality series delights in using, is simple. A handful of singles enter soundproofed “pods” where they then date other singles without [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content