Emmy-winning comedian Stephen Colbert is set to replace David Letterman on The Late Show when the 66-year-old retires next year, CBS Television Network announced today.
The long-time host of Comedy Central's The Colbert Report signed a five-year agreement with the network, with a start date to be determined and announced at a later time.
Letterman announced his retirement exactly one week ago after 21 years manning the Late Show desk. He is the longest-serving late-night host in television history.
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In their announcement, Leslie Moonves, President and CEO of CBS, and Nina Tassler, Chairman of CBS Entertainment, heaped praise on their new hire, calling Colbert "one of the most inventive and respected forces on television.”
Added Tassler, “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."
In a statement of his own, Colbert raved, “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.
The 49-year-old jokingly added, "Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go grind a gap in my front teeth.”
Colbert launched his satirical talk show in 2005 which won its first Emmy for Outstanding Variety Series this past September, finally besting rival The Jon Stewart Show.
The comedian is also an accomplished author, with two books appearing on the New York Times best-seller list and one winning the celeb a Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album.
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