Comedian Stephen Colbert, who made his mark satirizing political conservatives on cable television’s Comedy Central channel, was named on Thursday to succeed veteran late-night star David Letterman as the host of the CBS “Late Show” next year.
Colbert, 49, currently host of “The Colbert Report,” a weeknight show in which he parodies the role of a dim-witted, big-egoed conservative pundit, has signed a five-year agreement with CBS, the network said in a statement.
Colbert told New York Times television correspondent Bill Carter that he would drop his Comedy Central persona, which he first popularized as a member of the cast of the “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.”
Last week Letterman, 66, announced on his show he was retiring from late-night television sometime next year when his CBS contract expires. Letterman began the “Late Show” on CBS in 1993 after 11 years as the host of NBC’s “Late Night” program.
Colbert tapes his Comedy Central show in Manhattan, but it remained to be seen whether the “Late Show” would stay in its current venue at the nearby Ed Sullivan Theater.
“Simply being a guest on David Letterman’s show has been a highlight of my career,” Colbert said in a statement. “I never dreamed that I would follow in his footsteps, though everyone in late night follows Dave’s lead.”
He added: “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,” a reference to Letterman’s trademark grin.
I like the move and am very curious to see how it shakes up — how Stephen Colbert will differentiate his persona in Stephen Report from new Late Show. I like his show Colbert Report a lot! It is “stupidly” funny and supposed to be that way. Stephen Colbert is paid for being stupid there after all! 😄 As the article puts it, “he parodies the role of a dim-witted, big-egoed conservative pundit” and when he does it, it is ridiculously funny because you know he is faking it~ Ha~