Stephen Colbert will take over the Late Show next year when David Letterman retires, CBS have announced today. Today’s announcement comes just a week after Letterman’s surprise retirement announcement.
Stephen Colbert, who currently hosts the Daily Show spinoff satire programme The Colbert Report on Comedy Central, has said he’s thrilled with the move to CBS – “simply being a guest on David Letterman’s show has been a highlight of my career… 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”.
He joked “now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go grind a gap in my front teeth”.
The official news piece by CBS reads, in part, as follows:
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. Letterman determines a timetable for his final broadcasts in 2015.
In addition to the confirmation that Stephen Colbert will become the new host of the 11.35pm slot on CBS, it also confirms the programme will keep its “Late Show” name after David Letterman hangs up his suit & tie for the final time.
CBS are not saying whether any existing features or segments from the current incarnation of the Late Show will make the switch across to the new Colbert-fronted programme, nor whether the new look show will be taped at the legendary Ed Sullivan Theater in New York – “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”.
CBS President Les Moonves has said “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 has confirmed he won’t be hosting the Late Show in character like he does on The Colbert Report portraying a right-wing blowhard – “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”.
The Colbert Report, which premiered in 2005, has received wide acclaim from audiences and has earned two Peabody Awards and 27 Emmy nominations including winning the Emmy for best late night host last year.
Letterman released the following statement – “Stephen has always been a real friend to me. 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”.
It is rumoured this signing was planned for some time as, coincidentally, his Comedy Central contract will expire at the end of this year, according to The New York Times – making it an ideal opportunity for the move to CBS.
Late Show producer Barbara Gaines posting this humorous response on Twitter earlier:
Fellow talk show host Jimmy Fallon posted his congratulations on Twitter:
CBS Late Show – “Stephen Colbert Next Host of “The Late Show””
The New York Times – “Colbert to Succeed Letterman on ‘Late Show’”