CBS announced Thursday morning that Stephen Colbert will host CBS’ Late Show after David Letterman departs in 2015.
Colbert will have a five year contract when he begins next year. The city the show will film in and the creative team were not announced today.
Update (6 p.m. eastern): Colbert will continue to be host of The Colbert Report through the end of 2014. He will then take a break before beginning to prepare for The Late Show. He has confirmed that he will not be in character on the CBS talk show.
Letterman spoke about today’s announcement in a statement. “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.”
“Stephen Colbert is one of the most inventive and respected forces on television,” said CBS head Les Moonves in a press release. “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.”
He added, “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.”
This announcement obviously means that Colbert will end his run on Comedy Central hosting The Colbert Report, the show he launched in 2005 after getting his start on The Daily Show.
In a report this morning over on Vulture, Jon Stewart spoke highly about the potential idea of Colbert hosting The Late Show. “He’s done an amazing job with just that very narrow cast of character, but he’s got a lot more he can show,” he 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.”