TV

Stephen Colbert named next host of 'Late Show'

April 10, 2014 at 12:01 PM ET

Just a week after David Letterman announced his retirement, CBS officially announced the longtime host's "Late Show" replacement: Stephen Colbert. 

“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.”

“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,” he joked.

After the announcement, Letterman chimed in with his support for his successor.

"Stephen has always been a real friend to me. I'm very excited for him, and I'm flattered that CBS chose him," Letterman said in a statement. "I also happen to know they wanted another guy with glasses."

Colbert, who currently helms Comedy Central's "Colbert Report" as a faux conservative, will leave the character behind when he takes over "Late Show."

"I won't be doing the new show in character, so we'll all get to find out how much of him was me," Colbert said. "I'm looking forward to it."

The comedian, who signed a five-year deal with CBS, does not yet have a start date for his new gig. "Specific creative elements, as well as the producers and locations for the Colbert-hosted 'Late Show' will be determined at a later date," CBS said.  

"Stephen Colbert is one of the most inventive and respected forces on television,” Leslie Moonves, president and CEO of CBS, said in a statement. “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.”

With the comedian moving to CBS, Comedy Central announced that "Colbert Report" would be ending.

"Comedy Central is proud that the incredibly talented Stephen Colbert has been part of our family for two decades. We look forward to the next eight months of the ground-breaking 'Colbert Report' and wish Stephen the very best," the network said in a statement.

Even before Colbert was announced as the new "Late Show" host, "Daily Show" host Jon Stewart had thrown his support behind Colbert, who used to write and appear on Stewart's Comedy Central program.

"He's wonderful in 'Colbert Report,' but he's got gears he hasn't even shown people yet," Stewart told Vulture. "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."

His late-night comrades celebrated the news on Twitter.

Colbert's new gig keeps him pitted against former "best friend for six months" turned "eternal enemy forever" Jimmy Fallon, who recently took over the "Tonight Show" from Jay Leno. The two have had a friendly rivalry for years, from dueling over their respective Ben and Jerry's ice cream flavors to facing off in the same Emmy category — outstanding variety, music or comedy series.

Colbert has won seven Emmys for his work in late-night TV.

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