January 14, 2004 06:41 PM

Maybe it’s his new kid, but for a guy who likes to keep his feelings to himself, David Letterman is sure revealing a lot lately.

Having admitted to Howard Stern on the shock jock’s radio show Monday, “I always thought that when I got to be 40, I couldn’t be on television,” the 56-year-old “Late Show” host said he has no intention of leaving his lucrative CBS stint.

“Here I am still cashing the checks,” said Letterman. “It’s ridiculous.”

He also strongly hinted to “Everybody Loves Raymond” star Patricia Heaton, who was a guest on Monday’s “Late Show,” that Ray Romano should hang onto his day job, too. (Letterman is actually one of the producers of Romano and Heaton’s sitcom, through his production company Worldwide Pants.)

Asked by Dave if “Raymond” would be returning next season, Heaton said Romano still hasn’t made up his mind, but that she’s been told to assume this is the show’s final season. (Romano and “Raymond” executive producer Phil Rosenthal are expected to make a final decision on the sitcom’s fate by the end of this month.)

“That’s a load of crap. That’s such a load of crap,” Letterman responded, as quoted by Variety, noting that Letterman went on to express his disbelief that anyone involved would walk away from such a massive hit.

He then teased Romano: “Where else is he going to get a job that pays a billion dollars a year?”

And that’s not all Letterman has been carping about. Earlier this week, he got ticked off when his network displayed a prominent photo of his NBC “Tonight Show” rival Jay Leno on CBS’s online promotion of Sunday night’s People’s Choice Awards, the Smoking Gun Web site reports.

It wasn’t until Letterman started ragging on CBS during the taping of Monday’s program that the Leno picture was quickly replaced — by one of Letterman.

CBS president Leslie Moonves supposedly was so embarrassed by the gaffe that he called Letterman during the Monday taping to apologize and say, with tongue in cheek, that the employee who posted Leno’s photo on CBS.com had been canned.

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