NATION! Stephen Colbert has been chosen to replace David Letterman as the host of "The Late Show," CBS announced on Thursday, April 10, a week after the latter star announced his future retirement.
Colbert is currently the Emmy-winning host of Comedy Central's satirical political comedy talk show "The Colbert Report," which is popular among younger viewers. The news comes about two weeks after the 49-year-old made headlines over comments he made on-air that were perceived by many as racist. The backlash spurred the Twitter hashtag #CancelColbert. Colbert later reiterated that he is "not a racist" in an episode dedicated to the controversy, while the show's official Twitter page was deleted.
CBS President and CEO Leslie Moonves said in a statement released by the network and obtained by OTRC.com that Colbert is "one of the most inventive and respected forces on television," adding: "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."
"I'm flattered that CBS chose him," Letterman was quoted as saying, in a tweet posted on the Twitter page of "The Late Show" - @Letterman. "I also happen to know they wanted another guy with glasses."
What about the "Colbert Report?"
"Comedy Central is proud that the incredibly talented Stephen Colbert has been part of our family for nearly two decades," the cable network said in a statement to OTRC.com, following the news. "We look forward to the next eight months of the ground-breaking 'Colbert Report' and wish Stephen the very best."
The website said Colbert told the "Colbert Report" staff about the news hours before the CBS announcement and added that they were all going to work on "The Late Show" with him.
Colbert will not assume his mock conservative "Colbert Report" alter ego on "The Late Show."
"I won't be doing the new show in character, so we'll all get to find out how much of him was me," he said in a statement posted by the Hollywood Reporter. "I'm looking forward to it.... "
Colbert has appeared on Letterman's series 12 times. Both he and Letterman are often touted for their sarcastic and dry senses of humor and wit.
"Simply being a guest on David Letterman's show has been a highlight of my career," Colbert was quoted as saying in CBS' statement. "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."
CBS added that "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." The series is currently filmed in New York City.
Colbert, who is also a comedy TV writer, has won five Emmys for his work on "The Colbert Report" and two for his past job as a writer for Jon Stewart's preceding series, "The Daily Show." Letterman also has five Emmys.
(Pictured above: Stephen Colbert appears with his two Emmys, which he won for his Comedy Central show "The Colbert Report," at the 2013 Emmy Awards in Los Angeles on Sept. 22, 2013. / Stephen Colbert shakes hands with David Letterman on "The Late Show with David Letterman" on a May 4, 2011 episode. Credit: Kyle Rover / Startraksphoto.com / Worldwide Pants Inc.)
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