Stephen Colbert to Replace David Letterman as 'Late Show' Host
Stephen Colbert on 'Late Show With David Letterman' in 2011 (CBS)
On Thursday, the network announced the replacement for outgoing "Late Show" host David Letterman. Stephen Colbert, whose satirical "The Colbert Report" on Comedy Central competes in the same time slot, has landed the sought-after gig.
"Simply being a guest on David Letterman's show has been a highlight of my career," Colbert said in a statement released by CBS. "I never dreamed that I would follow in his footsteps, though everyone in late night follows Dave's lead.
"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."
Through his publicist he added, "I won't be doing the new show in character, so we'll all get to find out how much of him was me. I'm looking forward to it."
[Related: David Letterman's Top 10 Career Milestones]
Letterman seems happy with the decision.
"Stephen has always been a real friend to me," he said. "I’m very excited for him, and I’m flattered that CBS chose him. I also happen to know they wanted another guy with glasses."
Leslie Moonves, president and CEO of CBS Corp., said that Colbert is the right man for the job.
"Stephen Colbert is one of the most inventive and respected forces on television," he said in the statement. "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."
Nina Tassler, chair of CBS Entertainment, echoed the sentiment, calling Colbert a "multitalented and respected host, writer, producer, satirist and comedian who blazes a trail of thought-provoking conversation, humor and innovation with everything he touches."
She added, "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."
A rep for Comedy Central, which shares DNA with CBS as part of the pre-split Viacom family, wished Colbert the best, but reminded folks that he will remain on his current show until early next year.
"Comedy Central is proud that the incredibly talented Stephen Colbert has been part of our family for nearly two decades," a rep said in a statement. "We look forward to the next eight months of the ground-breaking 'Colbert Report' and wish Stephen the very best."
One week ago, Letterman announced that he would be stepping down as host of the late-night TV show in 2015. He has hosted the show since 1993, famously facing off against rival Jay Leno, who retired earlier this year.
Since then, there has been endless speculation about who will be the next host with Colbert, Conan O'Brien, Jimmy Kimmel, Ellen DeGeneres, Chelsea Handler, and Tina Fey among those being suggested.
Jon Stewart previously endorsed his longtime pal Colbert for the job, telling Vulture on Wednesday, "He is a uniquely talented individual. He's wonderful in 'Colbert Report,' but he's got gears he hasn't even shown people yet. He would be remarkable."