Listen up, Colbert Nation. Your leader has a new job. Stephen Colbert will replace David Letterman as host of "The Late Show" when the CBS host steps down next year after 21 years of Top Ten Lists and Stupid Pet Tricks.
Mr. Colbert, star of “The Colbert Report” on Comedy Central, has a five-year deal, CBS Corp. announced April 9 in an emailed statement. For "The Colbert Report," the comedian played the character of a wise-cracking conservative with an agenda, in a time slot that competed with the big network's late-night talk shows.
Rob Golum of Bloomberg News noted that CBS is moving quickly to fill a looming hole in its entertainment schedule with a cable TV personality who is popular with younger viewers and able to challenge Jimmy Fallon at NBC's "The Tonight Show."
“Stephen Colbert is one of the most inventive and respected forces on television,” CBS CEO Leslie Moonves said in a statement emailed by CBS. “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."
Mr. Colbert is a multitalented performer who started as a correspondent on "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart" before getting his own show in 2005. “The Colbert Report” has received two Peabody Awards and 27 Emmy nominations, plus an Emmy win for Outstanding Variety Series (2013) and three Emmys for writing. Like Mr. Fallon, he can sing and has a social media following and boasts a fan base that he addresses as "Colbert Nation."
“Simply being a guest on David Letterman's show has been a highlight of my career,” Mr. Colbert said in a statement. “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 added, joking: “Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go grind a gap in my front teeth.”