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CBS Announces Stephen Colbert To Replace David Letterman

by Photo of Ross Bernhardt

CBS made it official. Once Letterman retires, Colbert will take over ‘Late Show.’

CBS Announces Stephen Colbert To Replace David Letterman

In this article…

We didn't have to wait long to find out who David Letterman's replacement would be at the Late Show. According to The Wrap, CBS announced today that Stephen Colbert is the man for the job. 

Here's the full statement that CBS released:

The CBS Television Network today announced that Stephen Colbert, the host, writer and executive producer of the Emmy and Peabody Award-winning “The Colbert Report,” will succeed David Letterman as the host of THE LATE SHOW, effective when Mr. Letterman retires from the broadcast. The five-year agreement between CBS and Colbert was announced by Leslie Moonves, President and CEO, CBS Corporation, and Nina Tassler, Chairman of CBS Entertainment.

Letterman, the legendary, critically acclaimed host of the CBS late night series for 21 years, announced his retirement on his April 3 broadcast. Colbert’s premiere date as host of THE LATE SHOW will be announced after Mr. Lettermen determines a timetable for his final broadcasts in 2015.

Specific creative elements, as well as the producers and the location for the Colbert-hosted LATE SHOW, will be determined and announced at a later date.

“Stephen Colbert is one of the most inventive and respected forces on television,” said Moonves. “David Letterman’s legacy and accomplishments are an incredible source of pride for all of us here, and today’s announcement speaks to our commitment of upholding what he established for CBS in late night.”

“Stephen is a multi-talented and respected host, writer, producer, satirist and comedian who blazes a trail of thought-provoking conversation, humor and innovation with everything he touches,” said Tassler. ”He is a presence on every stage, with interests and notable accomplishments across a wide spectrum of entertainment, politics, publishing and music. We welcome Stephen to CBS with great pride and excitement, and look forward to introducing him to our network television viewers in late night.”

“Simply being a guest on David Letterman’s show has been a highlight of my career,” said Colbert. “I never dreamed that I would follow in his footsteps, though everyone in late night follows Dave’s lead.”

Adding, “I’m thrilled and grateful that CBS chose me. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go grind a gap in my front teeth.”

I'm just thankful it's not Chelsea Handler. Colbert has been wildly successful on Comedy Central's The Colbert Report since 2005, and more impressive is the fact that he's done it with just one character: the fictionalized Stephen Colbert that hosts that show. That's one of the reasons that his Comedy Central partner in crime, Jon Stewart, said he would be "remarkable" with the job.

Here's what Stewart told Vulture in a story that only ran earlier this morning:

“He is a uniquely talented individual,” Stewart said. “He’s wonderful in Colbert Report, but he’s got gears he hasn’t even shown people yet. He would be remarkable.”

[...]“He’s done an amazing job with just that very narrow cast of character, but he’s got a lot more he can show,” Stewart said. “He’s got some skill sets that are really applicable, interviewing-wise, but also he’s a really, really good actor and also an excellent improvisational comedian. He’s also got great writing skills. He’s got a lot of the different capacities. Being able to expand upon [those] would be exciting."

Most people only know Colbert from his show, but there is so much more to him than just that. Colbert is a terrific actor in his own right (just watch him on the TV series Strangers With Candy if you want a reference) and he started out at the great training ground known as the Second City Theatre in Chicago. Like Stewart said, Colbert has so many more facets of his talents that people haven't seen yet (and he might have others that the rest of us don't even know about).

I think it's safe to say that the show will be in good hands with Colbert at the helm, but we still have to wait over a year to find out.

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