Stephen Colbert announced as David Letterman’s replacement: good choice?

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It wasn’t even a week ago that David Letterman announced his retirement. Okay, it was one week ago as of this evening. Since Dave announced his retirement, everybody has been throwing every name against the wall to see what would stick as a potential replacement for Letterman. I honestly thought that this would be a long drawn-out thing, with various candidates taking multiple meetings at CBS, and eventually David would have a hand in choosing his successor. But CBS has made a decision quickly: it’s Stephen Colbert!!

It’s official: Stephen Colbert will replace David Letterman as CBS’ Late Show host. The broadcast network has tapped the 49-year-old Comedy Central host to take over the late-night franchise. CBS has made a five-year deal with Colbert, which was announced Thursday by CBS Corp. CEO Les Moonves and CBS Entertainment chairman Nina Tassler.

“Stephen Colbert is one of the most inventive and respected forces on television,” Moonves said. “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.”

Letterman, the longest-serving late-night TV host, announced his retirement on April 3.

Colbert’s premiere date will be announced after Letterman determines a timetable for his final broadcast in 2015.“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,” Tassler added. ”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,” Colbert said. “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.”

Sources say Colbert informed his Colbert Report staff a couple hours ago and told his team they’re all going to work on his CBS show.

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

[From Entertainment Weekly]

Are you surprised? I am, a little. I knew Colbert was going to be a big contender, for sure, but Colbert has a lot of control over his brand over at Comedy Central, and I do think of him as very loyal to Jon Stewart and Comedy Central. That being said, Comedy Central is owned by Viacom, which also owns CBS, so this really is an in-house arrangement. My guess is that Colbert is Letterman’s choice. Because Letterman couldn’t stand the idea of a hack like Chelsea Handler throwing her name out there like she was a viable candidate.

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Photos courtesy of WENN.

 

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137 Responses to “Stephen Colbert announced as David Letterman’s replacement: good choice?”

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  1. boopti says:

    Yaaaaaaaasssssss & Yaaaaaaaaay.

    Though I will miss his alter ego. I can’t imagine him not doing it. This will be interesting. He’s just brilliant. Good choice.

  2. GiGi says:

    I’m happy with this. I like Colbert and think he’ll probably keep the show in line with the tone of Dave’s show, while adding his own touch. I will say this is probably the absolute safest choice they could’ve made. Colbert has a following and, as I said, a similar wit to Letterman, so there won’t be a big loss of followers.

    Let’s all thank God that it wasn’t Chelsea Handler.

    • Dulcinea says:

      I agree Gigi, Colbert is a great choice and he has taken his alter ego as far as it can go. I hope he brings Amy Sedaris along, they are hilarious together.

    • FLORC says:

      Did she announce herself as a possibility? I can’t imagine her being on any short list to host such a desired television slot.

      He is the safest choice. I forsee many cross over bits of him, Kimmel, Fallon soing stupid things with social media conests. And as it is now Colbert will have to maintain not only the countdown, but the older set of viewers until his numbers are solid with youth.

  3. Tatjana says:

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! NO!

    He is perfect on Colbert Report. Nooooooooo.
    He’ll be out of character and he won’t be doing political jokes.
    This is so wrong.
    Craig would have been perfect.

  4. bluhare says:

    Nooooooooo, Stephen!!!!! Big mistake!

    • j.eyre says:

      I think I agree; he wouldn’t not have been my first choice. He is a lovely man and I hope he does wonders with it but I am having trouble seeing it. And would he be able to go back to the Colbert Report if he leaves it?

      Man I hope this works out for him.

    • FLORC says:

      I agree… A comedian really does have to bend in that position. He won’t have his same freedom… No more racial or demographic jokes..

    • pru says:

      It seems like a pretty big risk for both CBS and SC, and frankly I’m surprised they are both on board. Losing The Colbert Report could hurt SC if the show doesn’t go well. And CBS is taking the risk of putting someone new in this position, who really doesn’t have an established audience without his “in-character” Colbert persona.
      Plus, I’m really going to mourn the loss of The Colbert Report.

    • Rockymtnprincess says:

      I’m undecided. I love the Colbert Report but that is a character, I don’t know much about HIM. It was time for Dave to retire, he was interviewing Martha Stewart a couple weeks ago and I felt like I was watching my grandparents. I changed the channel.

  5. blue marie says:

    I really like him so it’s good with me BUT a part of me was really hoping for some diversity.

  6. Karen says:

    I’m pleased. I would have preferred Conan or Craig, but he’s definitely third on my list! I’m not surprised it’s him, it seemed like he was the top contender – I am shocked that this decision was announced so quickly!!

  7. Bridget says:

    I’m sad. He is so many different types of awesome of the Colbert Report, and he’s going to have to water it down (if not give up the persona). I love Colbert so so so much.

  8. MissMary says:

    Aw, I’m going to miss The Colbert Report but mazel tov to him for getting the late night gig. Gods bless Letterman but he’s gotten super bitter-sounding over the years, more so than his old sarcasm schtick.

  9. TheCountess says:

    Not a fan. I mean, I find “CR” funny in limited doses but for the me, the shtick got very tired very quickly. Granted, I don’t think he’ll be taking the character with him (though he is taking all the writers); however, I don’t really know what he has to offer *aside* from political satire.

    I wish they had looked outside the box. Aisha Tyler was my hope.

  10. MonicaQ says:

    It’s not Handler so yaaaaaaaass!

    I’m going to miss Colbert on CC.

  11. PunkyMomma says:

    I’m thrilled. I’ll miss The Colbert Report but Stephen is a very smart and talented guy. He’s a terrific interviewer and can think on his feet. And the comedy . . . Congrats Stephen and CBS!

    • mia girl says:

      I agree!
      Many people don’t give him enough credit for his skill as an interviewer. He has such quick retort with his guests.

      I’m actually excited to see what he and his team of writers can do outside of the confines of his current character. As much as I LOVE the show (watch it every night), ive always thought that at some point in the near future, the character was going to need to evolve.

      I think they can still have that subversive, razor smart wit while broadening the scope a bit.

      Congrats Stephen!

  12. lucy2 says:

    Great choice, or the greatest choice? ;)

    I’m very happy for him, I think he’ll do very well. He is extremely smart and quick witted, excellent with guests. I will be very, very sad to see the Colbert Report end though, and I can’t imagine him not in character anymore!

  13. Tippy says:

    Without the mock conservative persona I hope he has some other attributes to sustain him.

    Letterman’s ratings are third behind Fallon and Kimmel respectively so the bar will probably be set rather low ,at least initially, for Colbert.

  14. Kiddo says:

    Since Letterman is retiring, I decided to watch the show for a few minutes last night. Did anyone else see it? Lohan was on and meh on that. But I couldn’t help feeling sorry for Dave. He seemed incredibly off, messing up words, timing was weird and so on. Maybe he’s been like this for a while and I’m just noticing now since I haven’t seen him. Did anyone else get this ‘off’ feeling? Is he well?

  15. Maya says:

    Thank God Chelsea Handler couldn’t sleep her way to this show unlike her current show for which she slept with the married producer.

  16. hmmm says:

    My fear is that what he does best will be diluted. It’s a BIG fear.

  17. Candy Love says:

    Like I said before Chelsea Handler was never a choice that was all her PR hard at work.

  18. vv says:

    Honestly, I would like to see more diversity on the late night tv landscape. I think Stephen Colbert is funny but I don’t know that I will want to watch him when he’s not ‘in character’.

  19. TheCountess says:

    Oh dear god. Supposedly Handler is going to take over “The Late, Late Show.” VOMIT.

  20. Ag says:

    NOOOOO! i love colbert as colbert. now he’s going to cater to 70-year olds who’d have heart attacks if they saw a non-white man, or a woman, on their tv at night.

    BLARG.

  21. Dimebox says:

    Happy happy joy joy!!! I love him. He is so darn smart and is a great interviewer. It is always apparent on his show that he has actually read the books his guests wrote, and he can hold his own with anyone. And I am so happy that Chelsea Handler can’t pretend anymore that she is a viable candidate.

  22. InVain says:

    Love him. Congratulations Stephen! I agree that it was a safe choice, for those that have already pointed that out. I just hope they allow him creative liberty and he doesn’t crash and burn.

  23. almondey says:

    YES YES YES YES YES times a thousand!

    however, i do worry (only a little) at the dilution of his signature wit and sharpness. i’m not saying he’d be a sell-out but I think there would be a requirement to not turn off Republican candidates and he can’t use the platform that The Colbert Report afforded him.

    I wish there was someway he could keep both or that his selection as a host for Late Show means we’re ushering in a new age of more topical discussions and political discourse. I can only HOPE!

    Also, I really enjoyed his actual “character” on Stephen Colbert–I have to watch tonight and (Every night) to get the most of his character while he’s around. I wonder what the “send off/goodbye” will be.

  24. Whitney says:

    I’ll miss the Colbert Report, but hopefully Stephen will be able to bring his own brand of humour to the Late Show. As long as Craig Ferguson remains the host of the Late Late Show, then all’s good.

  25. Vampi says:

    YAAAAYYYYYYYYY!!!!
    *insert GIF of Kermit The Frog losing his mind here*
    YAY! Love Colbert!! (“Get Lucky” skit anyone? ) lol!
    *Gonna miss my Dave though. He was my light at night when I was a teen with no friends.*
    LOVE YOU DAVE!

  26. insomniac says:

    I love Stephen Colbert and I’m happy for him personally, but I am NOT happy that the Colbert Report is going away. Damn.

    • Vampi says:

      I agree Insomniac! I will miss the..umm..freedom he had there! I feel sadness at that, but JOY that they selected an appropriate successor to the Late Night throne!!! ( oh! I am ALSO an insomniac….right now pushing 50 hours. Me need sleep!!! *smiles*)

    • mercy says:

      Same. Having seen him do his thing hosting various roasts, benefit and the like, I know he’s just as sharp and funny outside of The Colbert Report, but TCR was special in a way that I’m not sure a network chat show can be.

  27. elo says:

    Meh, I was really hoping for Louis CK or NPH.

  28. Catt says:

    This is a bad choice.
    Is he going to bring that stupid schtick he has to the Late Show or will he be himself? His routine gets old so fast and most of the time is stupid funny instead of funny funny.

    • TheCountess says:

      I often feel like the lone wolf who isn’t on the “Crazy About Colbert” train – glad to see another person agrees with me. I’m sure Stephen Colbert, the person, is lovely; the character, however, is one-lame-note to me.

      And his audience is THE WORST. I often try to force myself through an episode but the overreaction by the audience during the open just turns me off.

    • Mia4S says:

      He’s already said he’s not going to do the show as his character. It will be him for real. I’m interested.

  29. Mia4S says:

    He has potential to actually a very good interviewer outside his persona. You can see a bit of it in his interviews with Paul McCartney and Vince Gilligan. He was so enamoured of both he couldn’t quite stay in character. He could be great.

  30. Angee says:

    No, no, no nooooo! If SC’s current show/personae are ANYTHING close to being as unfunny then this will prove to be an awful choice. Dave’s dry wit and casual lunacy are going to be a tough act to follow.

  31. Latisse says:

    Oh good. Another white male host. Just what late night was missing. Oh wait, that’s not how that goes. I will NOT be watching.

  32. Country girl says:

    No more Colbert Report? How sad. However, I love that he is taking his whole staff with him.

  33. Samtha says:

    At least it’s not Chelsea Handler.

  34. Alright then says:

    Ugh. I don’t know how I feel about this. I absolutely love Stephen Colbert, but I have a bad feeling that network tv is going to turn him vanilla. I can completely understand him wanting to move on from the character he’s been playing for years and I think he’s a really great interviewer. But now he’s going to have to interview people like the Kardashians and probably not be able to snark on them the whole time, and where’s the fun in that? Sigh….

    • jane16 says:

      Agree. As a Stewart/Colbert regular viewer, I’m really bummed out about this. The other late nite shows are a huge bore. I don’t get why he wanted to leave CC. He has his crazy devoted fan base, the Colbert Nation and now he’ll have to work twice as much doing the hour long snoozefest. I wonder if the Colbert Nation will follow him? They seemed like college age people.

  35. Reece says:

    I’m apprehensively thrilled.

  36. TX says:

    It will be different thats for sure! We know him as “Stephen Colbert” the character, not the real person. I will miss the Colbert Report so much!

    That being said, I am so thrilled for him! Also, I wouldn’t be surprised if this has been in the works for some time, and they already knew who Daves replacement would be before he announced he was leaving.

  37. Camille (The Original) says:

    All I can say about this is: thank god it’s not Chelsea Handler.

  38. Nooope says:

    I really really REALLY hope Samantha Bee will now take Colbert’s spot and have her own show!! The Bee Show!!

  39. Bella says:

    I think he is a great chocie, out of the other people that were optioning he was my pick!

  40. Tippy says:

    Tonight Show guests will not be allowed to appear elsewhere.

    According to unnamed sources, reported by the usually reliable TMZ website, the word has gone out that anyone who wants to sit down with Jimmy Fallon will not be invited to do so if they sit down anywhere else. “Guest” reactions have been muted, so far. No one wants to rock the boat.

    When NBC says anywhere, they mean anywhere, including the morning shows on the other networks. One program, ABC’s “Good Morning America,” reports scheduled guests canceling their appearances because they did not want to risk losing their shot with Fallon.

    Perhaps Colbert should consider moving the Late Show to LA.

  41. Emily C. says:

    I like Stephen Colbert, but… yet another white man.

    Also, Colbert had something special. Now he’s just going to be another meaningless talk show host? Blech.

    • Godwina says:

      Yeah, my sentiments, too. Part of me wishes that Colbert can revolutionize (i.e. make even remotely interesting) late-night, but I’m not optimistic. His job will be like all their jobs: sycophantic promotion of celebrities’ latest projects with a side of shitty band music.

      And yes: the white male default. Of course it is! Why, anything else would be unnatural! /sigh

  42. Anon says:

    I wanted Craig Ferguson, he’s often overlooked. But, Stephen will do just fine, imho. I hope Chelsea fades away….forever. Handler and her PR are just spinning their webs now.
    Good Luck to Stephen Colbert and of course, happy retirement to David Letterman.

  43. Godwina says:

    Maybe now I’ll actually be able to stomach late-night talk shows–where humour and sincerity traditionally go to die. Please make it better, SC!*

    *I realize that’s not likely, as Colbert will probably be forced to toe the mold, but we can dream. That whole model needs a major shakeup.

  44. Jag says:

    I was hoping Craig Ferguson would get to move his show to the time slot. Oh well.

  45. pru says:

    So, since he won’t be in character, will we have to stop calling him Stephen Colbert and start calling him Stephen Colbert?

  46. Lux says:

    It’s so kind and lovely that he’s taking everyone at The Colbert Report to late night. Not just everyone would be that considerate.

  47. jaye says:

    As long as it’s not Chelsea Handler…I’m good.

  48. Adrien says:

    I’m ok with Colbert but I was hoping a British dude not named Piers Morgan would replace Letterman. The guy who stood in for Jon Stewart was my choice. John Oliver can replace Colbert then.

  49. boltuprite says:

    Come on everybody, we all knew Letterman wouldn’t go without leaving a turd behind.

  50. Pepsi Presents...Coke says:

    Anything that makes Rush Limbaugh mad is good for humanity. He’s choking on his oxycontin over this and it’s a beautiful thing.

  51. LAK says:

    It’s an interesting choice.

  52. Heather H says:

    Given how quickly this happened I think this deal was locked before Letterman announced his retirement. Chelsey was just a red herring.

    We will miss the Colbert Report!

  53. Norman says:

    I love the Limbaugh and Fox reaction, were they expecting Dennis “Bush is saving your ass whether you like it or not” Miller to get the job? Heck “This 1/2 Hour News Hour” lasted only a few episodes. I like Colbert, he’s a satirist he points out absurdities and humor were he sees it. It was a rather surprising to see him get nominated but the field was wide open. I will miss his show but he is a great choice to replace Letterman.