CBS has found their man, tapping Stephen Colbert – the popular host of Comedy Central's The Colbert Report – to replace David Letterman when the longtime funny man retires from his Late Show in 2015.
Colbert will join a chorus of new anchors on late night television programs, with Jimmy Fallon how at the helm of The Tonight Show and Seth Meyers on Late Night, which Fallon, Letterman, and Conan O'Brien have formerly hosted.
"Simply being a guest on David Letterman's show has been a highlight of my career," Colbert said in a statement (Slate). "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."
Colbert has been a frequent guest on Letterman's program, including the following appearance (in costume) in December, 2013:
Letterman announced he would be retiring last week on April 3, in a seemingly impromptu declaration that stunned his audience.
Letterman will be stepping down in 2015, and Colbert will take over then.
"The old man set it up masterfully," wrote Grantland's Bill Simmons in his latest column, titled "Letterman's Last Great Moment".
"He mentioned that his 67th birthday was coming up and waited for the "APPLAUSE" sign to flicker off. Sixty-seven. He'd been hosting a late-night show for half his life, he realized, so he grabbed an index card and counted up the shows. When he mentioned making more than 4,000 shows for CBS, everyone clapped like trained seals, because that's what David Letterman's audiences were trained to do. They thought they were getting an I can't believe how many shows I've done bit. They had no idea what was coming.