Ending a TV run that in baseball terms might evoke at least three names -- DiMaggio, Jeter, Gehrig -- David Letterman wrapped the final show of a 33-year streak in late night TV Wednesday evening at the Ed Sullivan Theater.
The final edition -- or number 6,028, the last in a string that began Feb. 1, 1982, just a few blocks away, at 30 Rockefeller Center -- included a pre-taped cameo from President Obama, and of course a Top Ten list, "The Final Things I'd Like to Say to David Letterman." That was presented by ten stars, including Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock, Steve Martin, Barbara Walters, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Tina Fey, Alec Baldwin, Jim Carrey, Peyton Manning, and Bill Murray.
According to audience members, who had been selected to attend through a lottery, Letterman was emotional but contained.
And following weeks of speculation about a final musical guest, Letterman's last show settled on Foo Fighters, a favorite and which also appeared on "Late Show" after his quintuple heart bypass surgery in 2000. The band played "Everlong," a chestnut from 1997 album, "The Colour and the Shape."
Letterman's final show was not without some behind-the-scenes confusion. As expected, the show ran long -- seventeen minutes long, in fact. Letterman and his producers sought to keep the final edition intact, without cutting anything. CBS then had to get affiliates to agree to air the extended edition. They agreed a little after 8.
Letterman's run is without precedent in late night TV terms, exceeding Johnny Carson's "Tonight Show" tenure by three years. His departure has prompted a number of tributes in recent days from other late night hosts, including Conan O'Brien who -- on Wednesday's edition of "Conan," said: "We will not see a man with his comedic talent or integrity in our lifetimes."
"Jimmy Kimmel Live" aired a rerun instead of a new program in tribute.