As the host of two award-winning late night talk shows, David Letterman and his ironic style were powerful influences on the changing comedy landscape of the 1980s, 1990s and beyond. From the start of his 11-year run on "Late Night with David Letterman" (NBC, 1982-1993), Letterman promptly disassembled the conventional talk show format, slyly poking fun at the medium, the guests and the audience. His penchant for self-deprecation and sarcasm may have been a factor in NBC's decision to hand over "The Tonight Show" (NBC, 1952- ) and its more conservative 11:30 p.m. time slot to Jay Leno upon Johnny Carson's 1993 retirement - a deal that incurred Letterman's wrath enough that he jumped ship to CBS. Taking his team with him, he launched "The Late Show with David Letterman" (CBS, 1993- ) where he continued to flourish in the same irreverent capacity. Leno may have dominated the ratings, but Letterman took home the Emmys while becoming executive producer of primetime comedy hits like "Everybody Loves Raymond" (CBS, 1996-2005) and "Ed" (NBC, 2000-04). Despite nearly three decades on television, Letterman remained staunchly private, though he often made headlines for questionable jokes, his alleged feud with Oprah Winfrey, bypass surgery, having a stalker, death threats and being blackmailed for affairs with subordinates. But through it all, Letterman kept the juggernaut going and remained atop the ratings heap as the true king of late night for generations of viewers and fellow comics who still looked to the gap-toothed trailblazer as their Carson. In 2013, Letterman broke his early mentor's record, logging 31 years as a late night talk show host. Letterman announced in April 2014 that he would be retiring the following year.