Stephen Colbert to Succeed David Letterman at The Late Show - 5 Burning Questions Answered

Stephen ColbertNation, get ready for a whole different Stephen Colbert.

The Colbert Report host has been tapped to fill David Letterman’s Late Show seat when Letterman retires next year, CBS announced Thursday.

VIDEO | David Letterman Announces Retirement

The announcement begs several questions, including:

WHEN WILL HE START? | The Comedy Central host signed a five-year agreement with the Eye Network; his first day at Late Show will be determined once Letterman nails down his final broadcast schedule.

WILL COLBERT STAY IN NEW YORK? | In a press release, CBS noted that certain details about Colbert’s Late Show — such as its production team and location — will be determined at a later date.

WILL HE HOST AS HIMSELF OR AS A CHARACTER (A LA THE COLBERT REPORT)? | Colbert confirmed that he will not do The Late Show in his ultra-conservative Colbert Report persona. “I won’t be doing the new show in character, so we’ll all get to see how much of him was me,” he told The New York Times’ Bill Carter on Thursday. “I’m looking forward to it.”

DOES THIS MEAN THE COLBERT REPORT IS DONE? | Shortly after CBS’ announcement, Comedy Central released a statement hinting that The Colbert Report will stop production when Colbert leaves.

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

WHAT DOES LETTERMAN THINK ABOUT ALL OF THIS? | The outgoing Late Show host was quick to give Colbert his official stamp of approval.

“Stephen has always been a real friend to me,” Letterman said in a statement. “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.”

PHOTOS | David Letterman Retires: 13 Possible Replacements

“Simply being a guest on Letterman’s show has been a highlight of my career,” Colbert, who has sat on the Late Show couch 12 times, said in a statement. “I never dreamed that I would follow in his footsteps, though everyone in late night follows Dave’s lead.”

He added: “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.”

PHOTOS | 10 Things We Absolutely Hated About Jimmy Fallon’s Historic Tonight Show Debut

Colbert’s appointment is the latest in a recent series of big late-night changes that includes Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show takeover and Seth Meyers’ move from Saturday Night Live to the Late Show

Jon Stewart, on whose Daily Show Colbert made a name for himself as a correspondent, told Vulture on Thursday that his friend and colleague would be a “remarkable” fit for the CBS chat fest.

“He’s wonderful in Colbert Report, but he’s got gears he hasn’t even shown people yet,” Stewart said.


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  1. Babybop says:

    Oh wow! He seems like a nice enough guy. I’m interested to see how he does.

  2. Kyle Chamley says:

    Aww was hoping for Chelsea :(

  3. Joel says:

    He will be a great successor to Letterman although I don’t know if he works for CBS’ demographic.

    • rowan77 says:

      He absolutely does. The coveted 18-49 loves him, as do the 50+ who aren’t Republicans. Stephen is incredibly smart, super creative and on top of things politically. He’s the perfect replacement for Dave. I hope they keep The Late Late Show going with Craig. He’s perfect for that 12:35 slot with his silliness and non-standard interview style – and a good match-up to follow Stephen.

      Stephen Colbert is a great choice!

  4. jo jo jo says:

    thats VERY disappointing

  5. I don’t know how to feel about this. Good? Bad? Sad? Excited? I love Colbert now. Will it be the same when he’s on the late show? Probably not. Will it better? Maybe? I hope so!

    • msbrewski says:

      I’m in the same boat, LOVE current Colbert, and love what he’s able to do because of the character that I feel would be lost in the network late show format. No more SuperPAC-like exposing of our crazy political structures.

      • Alice says:

        Exactly. That character allowed him to bring to attention a lot of topics tamer shows couldn’t. remember the Take Our Jobs campaign? The Super PAC was more attention than any other show gave to campaign finance reform. He won’t be able to do that when he’s interviewing mostly actors and musicians promoting their next release. I just feel sad about this.

    • jane says:

      I feel the same way. I will really miss The Colbert Report! Will he be challenged and satisfied interviewing celebrities everyday? I’m not sure how much of his intelligence and wit will come through in this format.

  6. Elin says:

    If they censor him i’m going to be pissed.

  7. steveo says:

    Tragic news.

    The lost of THE COLBERT REPORT will be deeply felt, and no way could the format of the more traditional late-night talker come close to matching it.

    Good for him for getting the big raise that presumably comes with this, and getting to perform as himself and not his character, and no doubt he will be the funniest thing on broadcast late night since O’Brien was outed from THE TONIGHT SHOW, but this is a huge blow.

    • Quinn Mallory says:

      I’m a bit worried about this as well, since Colbert will likely be himself or a new character for the Late Show. Still nothing last forever and I am sure that Colbert will find a way to make his show entertaining, even if it’s in a different way.

      With Jon Oliver getting his own show on HBO, I don’t see an obvious replacement from The Daily Show for the Colbert Report. I like Jason Jones and Samantha Bee but only in small doses.

    • Angela says:

      These are my thoughts exactly. I’m thrilled for him getting this job-incredibly surprised, but happy…but damn, I’m really going to miss “The Colbert Report”. It’s going to be weird for that show to NOT be on TV anymore.

  8. Steve F. says:

    Interesting choice – will this be the Stephen Colbert character that’s on The Colbert Report, or the “real” Stephen Colbert?

  9. Logan says:

    Why not Craig Ferguson? Did he not want the job?

  10. Alichat says:

    Hmmm….I’m not sure how I feel about this. My immediate reaction is disappointment, but I’m not sure why I feel that way.

  11. SAY IT AIN’T SO!!!! For years, Stewart and Colbert were the perfect late night combo on Comedy Central. What are they gonna do with his timeslot??!

  12. Mare says:

    Wow that was fast. Anybody else wishing for another few months of speculation/rumors every other week- oh wait this isn’t NBC :)

  13. GuessWhat says:

    I have been a long-time Letterman watcher so have stuck with him through all the last-night shuffling of late. I like both Jimmys enough and channel surf sometimes based on guests. I don’t dislike Colbert — but not a huge fan. So this makes it easier for me. Will likely stick with Fallon mostly after Letterman’s departure.

  14. DebLG says:

    Shocking they announced a replacement already. I thought there’d be months of speculation!! I think he’ll be great.

  15. Mary Bucklew says:

    FABULOUS! Iconic but not trivial and SNLesque like everyone else out there now… and serious enough to be able to have meaningful chats with guests. BEST. CHOICE. POSSIBLE!

  16. Kris says:

    This is great news. I love Stephen. I’m just surprised they chose someone so soon.

  17. Bjd00969 says:

    Jon Stewart would have been better

    • rowan77 says:

      Perhaps they offered it to Jon first and he said no.

    • CountryQueen says:

      No way! Jon needs to keep doing what he’s doing – busting b@lls for all the so called news networks – calling them out for their crap. He couldn’t do that on a network show like this. There’s a reason Jon is the most trusted man in news, and that most people get their news from him.

    • canadian ninja says:

      Jon would have to take a massive paycut if he left for the late show gig.

      Also am I the only one who would watch Samantha Bee trying out Colbert’s soon to be vacant time-slot?

  18. Wtactualf says:

    This choice is perfect! So glad they didn’t choose Chelsea Handler.

  19. powerturtle90sdudemon says:

    No matter what side you were on, it sounds like Suey Park has a Schrodinger’s Victory going on

  20. Dakota says:

    Yea! Love Colbert. Like Jon Stewart more, but think he’s too smart and edgy for late night. He’d have to dumb down and not be so amazingly passive aggressive.

    • Alice says:

      Also the late night format wouldn’t allow for the show to do those amazing bits, because it would be confined to interviewing movie stars and musicians. What is great about the Daily Show and the Colbert Report was the fake-news program/ fake Bill O’Reilly format allowed them to examine more important issues. Now we are going to be wasting Stephen talking to actors for 5 years.

  21. Andrew Hass says:

    I’m not surprised because i heard that Colbert was one of the favorites to take over for Letterman.However i am a little shocked that it happened so fast but maybe CBS knew for awhile that Letterman was leaning towards retirement and already a list of replacements ready when the time came.So good luck to Colbert because he’s going to have big shoes to fill.

  22. Kate says:

    I wonder if it will be Stephen Colbert who does the Colbert Report or the actual guy? You know instead of the character he plays.

  23. cuius says:

    “Nation, get ready for a whole different Stephen Colbert.”

    Hopefully – Nation, get ready for a whole different The Late Show

  24. Marty says:

    Another outspoken leftist… I wish we could just have interesting talk show hosts like Johnny Carson instead of the likes of Letterman. I used to love David Letterman until he took the left hand turn and never looked back.

    • Dee says:

      Agree completely. Another ultra-left host at 11:30. Johnny Carson, Jay Leno, and even Craig Ferguson spread the jokes and sarcasm around pretty equally. I couldn’t stand to watch any of Letterman’s monologs in the later years and it will now be easy to skip the new CBS edition. Colbert was made for niche cable audiences not broad network exposure.

      • Tookie Clothespin says:

        Apparently neither of you have actually watched The Colbert Report. Colbert rips on everybody, not just the right. His main targets, like that of Jon Stewart, are hypocritical blowhards. It just so happens that conservatives are more easily spotted being hypocritical blowhards because they want to play the morality police and tell people how they should live their lives which trips them up every time. Just last night his show defended the now ex-president of Mozilla’s right to support anti-gay groups without having to fear losing his job. With all of that being said, Colbert is not bringing The Report to The Late Show. He is going to be doing a traditional late night talk show in the vein of The Late Show as it currently exists.

    • Mark says:

      People living in reality really grinds your gears, huh?

    • Angela says:

      *Gasp* Oh, no, not a LEFTIST!
      Wow. Seriously?

      • Marty says:

        Seriously? Yes! I look for entertainment when I watch late night talk shows – by that time of the night, I’m tired of all political rhetoric, I just want a laugh.

        • Angela says:

          That’s fine, but why make a thing out of him being a left-wing personality, then? And we have no idea if he’d even stay political on his new show to begin with.

    • Josh says:

      yeah, it’d suck for your ears to be assaulted by the voice of somebody who voted for someone you didn’t like.

  25. chuckmourner says:

    John Oliver , tina Fey, sara silverman to replace sb?

  26. DDuncan says:

    I’m going to be SO sad to see The Colbert Report go!! :(

  27. jp2 says:

    yuch. I hate this guy – late night tv alternatives just got a lot slimmer.

  28. Ross says:

    It’s ok, but I’d much prefer Craig Ferguson. :(

    • tara says:

      We stay up every night just to watch Craig. I think putting him on in the earlier slot would ruin his show. I’ve heard him in interviews saying much the same.

  29. Sara says:

    I didn’t expect this at all. When his name was being mentioned, I thought it’s impossible. He has a very popular show….why would he leave? Guess this makes the #CancelColbert folks happy

  30. Badpenny says:

    I am so used to the character he plays on his show that I do not know if I can accept the real him as a host… :)

  31. Will says:

    So perhaps then Chelsea Handler, upon leaving E! will take over for The Colbert Report…. -__-

  32. Gerald says:

    I think he’ll be a great host. My suggestions now is make sure it films in LA! We don’t need another New York talk show now that Fallon and Meyers is there.

  33. ME says:

    Colbert can definitely hold his own against Kimmel and Fallon. Good move on CBS’s part.

  34. A says:

    Wow! Really? I don’t want him to leave his other show. This kind of makes me sad.

  35. Deena says:

    I’m so torn by this like so many of you. I adore Colbert & so happy for him. Yet I can’t imagine The Colbert Report not on the air. I almost wish John Oliver would’ve held on at TDS & could’ve taken over the 11:30 slot on Conedy Central.

  36. WonderWaage says:

    While I like Stephen Colbert quite a lot. I’m very sad about this, as this will be the end of TCR and quite possibly the Stephen Colbert character. There is no place for the kind of raunchy comedy style of the Colbert Report on CBS. What a crying shame.

  37. Jake says:

    UGH, I find him extremely annoying…But that is just my opinion.

    • Meg says:

      Do you find Colbert annoying or his character annoying? Because he is different in interviews and appearances when he’s not in character.

  38. Anne says:

    This is terrific news. I am so happy. I’ll miss The Colbert Report a lot, but can’t wait to see what this extremely funny and talented man will do with an hour each day. I very much doubt he’ll keep the ‘right wing pundit’ persona he uses on his current show.

    I love Letterman and will miss him, but really looking forward to this.

  39. CountryQueen says:

    While I’m glad for him I love the Colbert Report! He is always so on point with his zingers. Almost every night he says something so great I would just kiss him if he was in front of me. Haven’t watched Letterman in years, but will be tuning in for Stephen!

  40. Mel says:

    1. Why would you think he would be doing his Colbert Report schtick on Late Night?
    2. Why would you question if The Colbert Report would end when he starts Late Night?
    3. You guys are being a bit too giddy over this announcement.

  41. Chris says:

    It makes me really sad to see The Colbert Report go. It was such a unique show.
    I think he is going to do an amazing job, though.

  42. Now i can watch Jimmy Kimmel without fear. Tape just one show. I do not find him funny. I appreciate his Catholic leaning and all, but that is about it…

  43. Diz says:

    Just terrible. No thanks, I won’t be watching. You lost a viewer with this choice.

  44. Pat says:

    A big Congratulations goes out to Stephen Colbert. Now please get John Oliver to replace Stephen.

  45. Terrible choice. I guarantee he won’t last the entire 5 year contract. Congratulations to Kimmel and Fallon.

  46. Ron says:

    Wow! Don’t know how exactly I feel about this. On one hand, I really like Stephen so I’ll probably like him on The Late Show. On the other hand, I really like Stephen on The Colbert Report and want that show to continue with his satirical character. What I do know is that there is A LOT of shuffling going on in late night right now: Leno out, Fallon in. Meyers taking over for Fallon. Letterman retiring, Colbert taking over and leaving Comedy Central. Handler leaving E! and possibly going elsewhere. Oliver leaving The Daily Show to move to his own show on HBO. Geez, I can’t keep up with all the changes.

  47. Aara says:

    Not even a creative choice. I won’t be checking out CBS for late night, just like I don’t check out fox. NBC and ABC…much easier to choose between only 2. Thanks CBS.

  48. Miriam Maurer says:

    God this is horrible news!!

  49. Corvin says:


    also ihope he takes sweetness with him. bieber might drop by.

  50. Robby Horine says:

    I give it two years max. Nobody wants to see a hour long version of the Colbert Report. And Conservative viewers don’t want to be bash contentiously.

    • Tookie Clothespin says:

      It’s already been announced that he is not going to be in character and the show will not be an hour long version of The Colbert Report. It is going to basically the same show that it is now but, with a different host.