It's official; CBS has named Stephen Colbert to replace David Letterman on the "Late Show". Just a week after Letterman announced his retirement, the network has found his replacement, making a five-year deal with the "Colbert Report" host.
"Stephen Colbert is one of the most inventive and respected forces on television," CBS Corp. CEO Les Moonves said when announcing the news on Thursday, April 10. "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."
CBS Entertainment chairman Nina Tassler 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. 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."
Colbert himself stated, "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. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go grind a gap in my front teeth."
Letterman has responded to the news with a statement which read, "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."
Meanwhile, Comedy Central congratulated Colbert on his new gig. "Comedy Central is proud that the incredibly talented Stephen Colbert has been part of our family for nearly two decades," the network stated. "We look forward to the next eight months of the ground-breaking 'Colbert Report' and wish Stephen the very best." Comedy Central hasn't announced who will replace Colbert in the 11:31 P.M. slot.
Neil Patrick Harris, who was rumored as a possible candidate to replace Letterman, was also excited that Colbert was chosen to take over the "Late Show". "I'm thrilled for @StephenatHome replacing Dave. He's a fantastic choice. I'm a huge fan. Colbert is rad," so the actor tweeted.
Colbert is expected to shed his ultra-conservative "Colbert Report" character for "Late Show". He told Bill Carter of New York Times, "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."
Jon Stewart has high confidence in his fellow Comedy Central host. Just hours before the announcement, he told Vulture, "[Colbert's] got a lot more he can show. 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."
Rush Limbaugh, on the other hand, is skeptical about CBS' choice. "CBS just declared war on the heartland of America," he said on his radio show. "No longer is comedy going to be a covert assault on traditional American values. Now it's wide out in the open. What his hire means is that it's a re-definion of what is funny and a re-definition of what is comedy."
The conservative host continued, "They're blowing up the 11:30 format under the guise the world is changing. People don't want the kind of comedy that Carson gave us or even Leno. It's the media planting the flag here. Media's last stand. It's a declaration."
Colbert will begin hosting "Late Show" in 2015.