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