Stephen Colbert Will Replace David Letterman When He Retires From ‘The Late Show’ Next Year
Update: Stories we’ve read since this news first broke report that Colbert will probably be doing The Late Show as himself. After nearly a decade, Colbert could be putting his satirical alter ego to rest.
“CBS said creative elements, producers and even the location of the show will be announced at a later date. “He is not going to play that character,” said Nina Tassler CBS Entertainment in an interview. (via Variety) Still, the intelligence and humor that he brings to the character is what CBS is banking on. That and his ability to attract a younger audience, which is what all of the late-night shows are looking for. The average age of a Colbert Report viewer is 41.9. The average age for a viewer tuning in to both the Jimmys is over 50.
Moreover, The Late Show will probably stay in New York City at the Ed Sullivan Theater. In an interview that aired on CBS This Morning, CBS head Les Moonves says the network is being courted by everyone in Los Angeles to make the move. (Remember, Jimmy Fallon moved The Tonight Show back to the East coast when he took the hosting duties.) However, Colbert lives in Montclair, NJ and CBS owns the theater, a landmarked location. And the goal is to start Colbert right after Letterman retires.
As for Comedy Central, they’ve got to deal with a hole at 11:30. “‘The Daily Show’ won’t be going anywhere just yet, and ‘@Midnight’” (at midnight) has become a bona fide hit. There is no question that Comedy Central will have a new 11:30 p.m. show come 2015; the only question is what,” says Capital New York. The Times speculates that they could go with Amy Schumer, the popular comedienne who already has a show on the network, because late night could use a woman. Or they could go with Key & Peele (also with a Comedy Central show) to spice things up with diversity.
Original story below
Well, I guess our speculation and requests went ignored. CBS has announced that Stephen Colbert will replace David Letterman when he retires from late-night television next year. (We’re big fans, BTW. If only for this right here.)
The announcement comes shortly after rumors that Colbert was a front runner for the job began circulating. Moreover, it comes on the heels of a controversy over a tweet that took one of his skits — a play on the racism of the Washington Redskins football team name — out of context and offended Asian Americans. It sparked a #CancelColbert hashtag that has been comically revived and is currently trending.
A statement from CBS says Colbert has signed a five-year deal, though it hasn’t yet been specified when Letterman will step down. Colbert’s contract with Comedy Central also ends in the coming months.
“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 said after the announcement was made.
David Letterman has been on late-night television for 33 years. Colbert, who’s 49 years old, has been host of The Colbert Report on Comedy Central since 2005. He launched his conservative Bill O’Reilly-like persona on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart before that.
Which begs the question of what will happen to the satirical news personality that Colbert has inhabited almost wholly in public for the past 10-plus years. Just this morning on the commute in, we were reading this story from The New York Times that speculated about the impact it would have to move Colbert to the Late Show desk. On the one hand, it would be a shame to have to give up the wit and humor that has become a Colbert staple. But if it can be moved to CBS, that would be a gem.
“If CBS gives him room and support to rethink the form, Mr. Colbert could reinvigorate late-night talk and provide a radically different alternative to Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel,” the article says.
For more about the dollars and cents behind the late-night TV game, click here for our “By the Numbers” story.