It’s Official: Stephen Colbert Signs Five-Year Deal to Take Over ‘The Late Show’ on CBS

By April 10, 2014

After emerging as the frontrunner last week, Stephen Colbert – host of the wildly successful Comedy Central political satire program “The Colbert Report” – has officially signed on to replace David Letterman as the host of “The Late Show” on CBS.

The network made the announcement via press release today revealing that Colbert has signed a five-year deal that will begin after Letterman retires in 2015. That means “The Colbert Report” will be over in 2014, since that’s when the comedian’s contract expires at Comedy Central.

As of now it’s not clear where “The Late Show” will broadcast, but the show has been situated in New York for decades, and that’s where Colbert is located now, so that would be our best guess. But there have been rumblings of some higher ups wanting to move the show to Los Angeles, and if that happened it would be a strange kind of coastal swap of late night shows since Jimmy Fallon recently moved “The Tonight Show” to New York when he took over that show.

Anyway, Letterman still has to determine his retirement timetable for 2015, so we’re not sure specifically when Colbert will take over the show just yet, but CBS President and CEO Les Moonves couldn’t be more thrilled:

Stephen Colbert is one of the most inventive and respected forces on television. 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.

Perhaps the biggest concern is a certain sect of people who don’t know that the character Colbert plays on his late night Comedy Central show is satirical, so there might be some confusion.

Stephen Colbert - Painting

Speaking of which, there might also be some fans who don’t like Colbert without his faux right-wing hat on, and we’re betting that Colbert won’t be bringing the character with him (at least not as his default persona). If anything, Colbert might finally be looking forward to just being himself after nine years on the show. Colbert obviously couldn’t be more thrilled about the new job:

Simply being a guest on David Letterman’s show has been a highlight of my career. 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.

Well, there you have it. Colbert isn’t the most innovative choice for a late night talk show, but he brings a strong following and certainly has the chops to make it work. The question is what will happen to that time slot after “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” now? Will it be filled with something else that has the same kind of political satire, or just used for repeats of other Comedy Central shows? We’ll have to wait and see.

On a different note, I’m hoping that since Colbert’s contract ends at Comedy Central in 2014 and doesn’t begin at CBS until 2015 that maybe he’ll have time to tour the country and do some big shows for the fans who have supported him over the years. We’ll be sure to keep you posted.

Are you happy that Stephen Colbert is taking over “The Late Show” on CBS? Will you miss “The Colbert Report” at all?

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Ethan Anderton
Some of his favorite films include Ghostbusters, The Empire Strikes Back and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, while his favorite TV series include LOST, Mad Men, 30 Rock, Parks & Recreation, Arrested Development and Saturday Night Live.