Image: "The Colbert Report" Salutes The Troops
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TODAY   |  April 11, 2014

Stephen Colbert: ‘I do not envy’ Letterman successor

One week after David Letterman announced he’ll retire as “Late Show” host in 2015, CBS said Stephen Colbert will take over. Colbert got some laughs addressing his new gig on his Thursday night Comedy Central show.

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>>> cbs did not keep us guessing very long when it comes to who will take over for david letterman . willie 's got that story back in studio 1a . hey, willie .

>> hey, savannah. good morning. just one week after david letterman announced he'll be retiring as host of "the late show " in 2015 , the network named stephen colbert as the man who will inherent one of television's most coveted time slots. late night 's newest name is one you already know.

>> stephen ! stephen ! stephen !

>> cbs announced thursday that when david letterman steps down from "the late show " next year, stephen colbert will take over. last night, he spoke out about his new job in true colbert fashion.

>> this man has influenced every host who came after him, and even a few who came before him, he's that good. and i've got to tell you, i do not envy whoever they try to put in that chair.

>> a nine-year veteran of ""the colbert report ," he's no stranger to 11:30 , or even to the ed sullivan theatre .

>> keep those laughs coming. rehearsal is going great.

>> and he's pretty familiar with his network competition as well. he and "the tonight show 's" jimmy fallon have a good-natured cameo-filled feud that dates back to the days when both were their network's number twos.

>> your ice cream is actually pretty good -- for 12:30 .

>> they all have great respect for each other, and that also makes it kind of interesting. there's not -- i don't think there's any friction going on the way there was kimmel versus leno and dave versus jay.

>> there's not going to be any war. [ laughter ] it will be a dance-off.

>> but "the late show " handoff means not just the end of letterman and his top ten, but also goodbye to colbert 's blustery pundit persona.

>> this is america and we don't need to know where a country is to send troops there. k

>> colbert confirming in a statement, i won't be doing the new show in a character, so we'll get to find out how much of him was me. so while his current fans have another year of hat tips, finger wags to look forward to, expect a broader, perhaps gentler colbert when he hits cbs .

>> he's going to do a modern late night show. he's not going to do a throwback to letterman, leno, carson. what exactly it's going to be, we don't know. but i think whatever it is, we're going to see the best of stephen colbert .

>> and that's the word.

>> letterman's show was a repeat last night, but he did put out a statement saying 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, said dave. and by the way, savannah, we're going to hold stephen and jimmy to that dance-off that they promised us.

>> i can't wait. by the way, so now that he's going to be out of character, will he be stephen colbert or --

>> it remains to be seen.

>> all right, willie . thank you