FILE PHOTO: David Letterman on stage during the 32nd Annual Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony Show in New York City, US, April 7, 2017. REUTERS pic

NEW YORK: Late-night television king David Letterman is kissing retirement goodbye to bounce back onto the small screen and host a new series for Netflix, the US streaming giant said Tuesday.

Six hour-long episodes in the still-unnamed series will combine in-depth interviews with out-of-studio segments expressing Letterman’s “curiosity and humor” when it premieres in 2018, Netflix said.

“I feel excited and lucky,” said the 70-year-old Letterman, whose retirement in 2015 as the longest-running US late-night broadcaster marked the end of an American cultural institution. He was on the air for 33 years.

“Here’s what I have learned. If you retire to spend more time with your family, check with your family first,” joked the married father of one.

Nearly 14 million people tuned in to watch Letterman’s final “Late Show” on CBS on May 20, 2015 – complete with jokes and farewells from a host of US presidents, Hollywood stars and devoted fans.

Since then, he has made only fleeting television appearances.

Throughout his career, critics praised Letterman for blending innovative and odd-ball antics with traditional interviews, and for inspiring some of most the talented comics working today in Britain and the United States (US).

His work saw him interview US commanders-in-chief, politicians and generations of celebrities. He won numerous Emmy awards – the most highly prized accolade in American television – and was nominated dozens of times.

Known for caustic and at times grumpy humor, the veteran broadcaster got his first show on NBC in 1982. Feared by some, he enjoyed an easy on-camera chemistry with many of his guests.

Netflix describes itself as the world’s leading internet television network, with 104 million members in more than 190 countries watching more than 125 million hours of TV shows and movies a day, including original series. — AFFP