When David Letterman announced his retirement from the Late Show on April 3rd, rumors immediately began swirling as to who would replace the 33-year-long television icon. The first forerunners were obviously fellow late-night show hosts. However, history shows that that transition has a history of not working well (*cough* Conan O'Brien *cough cough*). Following that initial list, names like Tina Fey, John Stewart, and even Neil Patrick Harris were tossed around. Late last week, however, a unique, yet odd, choice started to rise to the top - none other than The Colbert Report's host, Stephen Colbert.
Today, CBS cemented the truthiness of said rumor by announcing that Stephen Colbert has signed a five-year agreement with the network to become the next host of The Late Show, ending Letterman's 21-year run as the host.
So if it's The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, will the T in Late be silent?
— Bill Amend (@billamend) April 10, 2014
Prior to becoming host for The Late Show, Letterman was host of NBC's Late Night, starting in 1983. When Jay Leno was named Johnny Carson's successor to The Tonight Show in 1993, Letterman decided to jump ship to another network after a decade at NBC.
CBS president and CEO Leslie Moonves stated, "Stephen Colbert is one of the most inventive and respected forces on television. 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."
Nina Tassler, the Chairman of CBS Entertainment, would add that, “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.”
CBS executives are not the only people to recognize Colbert's multifaceted brilliance and support his ascension to host of The Late Show. Colbert's former employer and co-worker, Jon Stewart, also had words of support to add for Colbert's new role:
"He is a uniquely talented individual. He’s wonderful in Colbert Report, but he’s got gears he hasn’t even shown people yet. He would be remarkable... He’s done an amazing job with just that very narrow cast of character, but he’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."
One question remains unanswered, however. Does this move to primetime, late-night, locally-televised programming mean the death of "Stephen Colbert"? Colbert is known for never dropping his conservatively satirical schtick featured on The Colbert Report - not even in public when he is not associated with the show.
Congratulations to Stephen Colbert the person and condolences to Stephen Colbert the character.
— Michael Ian Black (@michaelianblack) April 10, 2014
While many of us are waiting to see how the character of Stephen Colbert will evolve or adapt to a bigger stage, Colbert only has intense preparation for the new role on his mind: “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.”
Image via YouTube