David Letterman Bows Out With 13.8 Million Viewers, 21-Year High

John Paul Filo/CBS
David Letterman hosts his final broadcast of the Late Show with David Letterman, Wednesday May 20, 2015 on the CBS Television Network. After 33 years in late night television, 6,028 broadcasts, nearly 20,000 total guest appearances, 16 Emmy Awards and more than 4,600 career Top Ten Lists, David Letterman says goodbye to late night television audiences. The show was taped Wednesday at the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York.  

David Letterman signed off on Wednesday night, putting the finishing touch on a 33-year career in late night -- the last 22 of which he's spent at CBS.

Capping off several weeks of ratings spikes and two nights of five-year highs, the telecast was obviously up.

The star-filled goodbye averaged nearly 13.8 million viewers, with the show hitting its highest score since the Late Show's first season in 1994.

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The Late Show drew a bigger crowd last night than any broadcast series did in primetime, the closest being the Survivor finale (9.4 million viewers). Compared to another notable late-night exit, Jay Leno's 2014 goodbye, Letterman came in shy by fewer than 1 million viewers.

The 3.1 rating with adults 18-49 was a 10-year high for Letterman, who hasn't brought in so many young viewers since a 2005 appearance by Oprah Winfrey.

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One fellow benefiting a great deal from all of this is James Corden. The new Late Late Show host has been hitting series highs during his brief tenure so far, and Wednesday's telecast drew 4 million viewers. That's an all-time record for the show, for any host.

This article originally appeared in THR.com.



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