Stephen Colbert has been chosen by CBS to take David Letterman's spot hosting the "Late Show."
CBS released an official statement Thursday, April 10, announcing "The Colbert Report" anchor will take over for Letterman when he retires in 2015.
Colbert's network, Comedy Central, tweeted in support:
One week ago, Letterman announced his departure from the late night seat after 33 years. While taping his Thursday, April 3 show, the 66-year-old said he called CBS president Leslie Moonves before the program, "And I said ‘Leslie, it’s been great, you’ve been great, and the network has been great, but I’m retiring.'"
By the time he does, he will have hosted CBS' "Late Show With David Letterman" for 22 years. He previously hosted NBC's "Late Night" for 11 years.
Late last week, rumors swirled that Colbert, 49, was CBS' top choice for replacing Letterman. At the time, Mashable reported that Colbert had not had any formal conversations about taking the position, but he was the network's first pick. It was also noted that his "The Colbert Report" contract with Comedy Central runs through 2014, which makes timing ideal.
Other names that were tossed around ranged from Tina Fey to Jon Stewart to Neil Patrick Harris.
UPDATE -- Colbert has commented on the new gig in usual form, saying in a statement: "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."
"Simply being a guest on David Letterman's show has been a highlight of my career," he added, according to The Wrap. "I never dreamed that I would follow in his footsteps, though everyone in late night follows Dave's lead."
According to The Wrap, Colbert inked a five-year deal with CBS.
Letterman has since released a statement of his own, saying: "Stephen has always been a real friend to me. 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."
See CBS' full announcement below:
CBS ANNOUNCES STEPHEN COLBERT AS THE NEXT HOST OF “THE LATE SHOW”
The CBS Television Network today announced that Stephen Colbert, the host, writer and executive producer of the Emmy and Peabody Award-winning “The Colbert Report,” will succeed David Letterman as the host of THE LATE SHOW, effective when Mr. Letterman retires from the broadcast. The five-year agreement between CBS and Colbert was announced by Leslie Moonves, President and CEO, CBS Corporation, and Nina Tassler, Chairman of CBS Entertainment.
Letterman, the legendary, critically acclaimed host of the CBS late night series for 21 years, announced his retirement on his April 3 broadcast. Colbert’s premiere date as host of THE LATE SHOW will be announced after Mr. Lettermen determines a timetable for his final broadcasts in 2015.
Specific creative elements, as well as the producers and the location for the Colbert-hosted LATE SHOW, will be determined and announced at a later date.
“Stephen Colbert is one of the most inventive and respected forces on television,” said Moonves. “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.”
“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,” said Tassler. ”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.”
“Simply being a guest on David Letterman’s show has been a highlight of my career,” said Colbert. “I never dreamed that I would follow in his footsteps, though everyone in late night follows Dave’s lead.”
Adding, “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.”
Since its launch on Comedy Central in 2005, “The Colbert Report” has received widespread critical acclaim while earning two Peabody Awards and 27 Emmy nominations, including an Emmy win for Outstanding Variety Series (2013) and three Emmy wins for Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Program (2013, 2010, 2008). Prior to that, Colbert spent eight years as a correspondent on Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” as an on-air personality and writer of news satire for the Emmy and Peabody Award-winning series.
In addition, Colbert is an accomplished author, with two books, I AM AMERICA (and So Can You!) andAMERICA AGAIN: Re-Becoming the Greatness We Never Weren’t, appearing on the New York Times best-seller list. AMERICA AGAIN also won a Grammy Award for Spoken Word (2014).
In music, Colbert’s original holiday musical special on Comedy Central, “A Colbert Christmas,” won a Grammy Award for Best Comedy Album (2009) and Emmy nominations for Art Direction, Picture Editing and Original Music and Lyrics. In April 2011, Colbert starred as Harry in the New York Philharmonic presentation of Stephen Sondheim’s “Company.”
After graduating from Northwestern University, Colbert was a member of Chicago’s acclaimed Second City improv troupe with Amy Sedaris and Paul Dinello. The trio later created and starred in the CableAce-nominated sketch comedy series, “Exit 57,” and created the cult-hit narrative series “Strangers with Candy,” both for Comedy Central.
Colbert has appeared on series such as HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and NBC’s “Law & Order: Criminal Intent.” He was also a cast member and writer on ABC’s “The Dana Carvey Show,” wrote for “Saturday Night Live” and voiced roles in DreamWorks’ animated films “Mr. Peabody and Sherman” and “Monsters vs. Aliens.”
THE LATE SHOW is broadcast weeknights on the CBS Television Network from 11:35 PM - 12:37 AM, ET/PT.
And see Colbert take the guest seat on "The Late Show" in 2012, to promote his book "I Am a Pole."