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CBS gives 'Late Show' host David Letterman two-year extension

Late-night TV talk show host David Letterman is pictured on the balcony at the 2012 Kennedy Center Honors at the Kennedy Center in Washingto
Late-night TV talk show host David Letterman is pictured on the balcony at the 2012 Kennedy Center Honors at the Kennedy Center in Washingto

(Reuters) - U.S. television network CBS has extended its contract with late night talk show host David Letterman through 2015.

Letterman's "Late Show with David Letterman has earned nine Emmy Awards during the 20 years it has aired on the broadcast network, a unit of CBS Corp.

"There is only one Dave, and we are extremely proud that he continues to call CBS 'home,'" Leslie Moonves, CBS Corp president and chief executive, said in a statement on Friday.

"Les and I had a lengthy discussion, and we both agreed that I needed a little more time to fully run the show into the ground," the 66-year-old Letterman added.

The comedian, best known for his dry humor and gap-toothed grin, is the longest-running late night TV talk show host, having had his own show for 31 years beginning with NBC's "Late Night" talk show in 1982.

Letterman's "Late Show" will compete head-to-head with ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" and Jimmy Fallon, when he takes over NBC's "Tonight Show" from longtime host Jay Leno in February 2014.

CBS, which did not disclose the terms of the extension, said that "Late Show's" audience has increased by 5 percent over the past year. It averages about 3.1 million viewers.

(Reporting by Eric Kelsey; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)

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