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Stephen Colbert to replace Letterman on 'Late Show'

By Eric Kelsey

(Reuters) - Comedian Stephen Colbert, who made his mark satirizing political conservatives on cable television's Comedy Central channel, was named on Thursday to succeed veteran late-night star David Letterman as the host of the CBS "Late Show" next year.

Colbert, 49, currently host of "The Colbert Report," a weeknight show in which he parodies the role of a dim-witted, big-egoed conservative pundit, has signed a five-year agreement with CBS, the network said in a statement.

Details of how the format of "Late Show" will change under Colbert's stewardship, or whether it will remain based in New York City, have yet to be determined.

But Colbert told New York Times television correspondent Bill Carter that he would drop his Comedy Central persona, which he first popularized as a member of the cast of the "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart."

"I won't be doing the new show in character, so we'll all get to find out how much of him was me. I'm looking forward to it," Carter quoted Colbert as saying in a Twitter message.

News of Colbert's impending move to CBS marks the latest in a recent shakeup of the late-night television landscape at the major networks.

Jay Leno bid farewell as host of NBC's top-rated "The Tonight Show" in February and was replaced by Jimmy Fallon, who had been following him as host of "Late Night." Fallon in turn was succeeded by Seth Meyers.

Last week Letterman, 66, announced on his show he was retiring from late-night television sometime next year when his CBS contract expires. Letterman began the "Late Show" on CBS in 1993 after 11 years as the host of NBC's "Late Night" program.

"Stephen Colbert is one of the most inventive and respected forces on television," Leslie Moonves, CBS president and chief executive officer, said in a statement announcing the deal with Colbert.

"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."

Colbert tapes his Comedy Central show in Manhattan, but it remained to be seen whether the "Late Show" would stay in its current venue at the nearby Ed Sullivan Theater.

"Simply being a guest on David Letterman's show has been a highlight of my career," Colbert said in a statement. "I never dreamed that I would follow in his footsteps, though everyone in late night follows Dave's lead."

He added: "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," a reference to Letterman's trademark grin. (Reporting by Eric Kelsey; Writing by; Steve Gorman; Editing by Dan Grebler and James Dalgleish)

Stephen Colbert to Replace David Letterman

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seemaybe April 13 2014 at 6:06 AM

I believe that CBS is very lucky to get Stephen Colbert. He is brilliant!!! End of story.

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bocamumu April 12 2014 at 2:06 PM

The "2 Jimmys" better up their game...here comes Colbert!!

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Bob April 12 2014 at 10:37 AM

colbert is the funniest guy on tv. now i get to see him 5 hrs a week instead of 2. keep him in the same theater where the beatles played. we seen dave's 8th anniversary show at radio city music hall in 1990 with bill murray and bob dylan and at the ed sullivan theater in 1989 on the 25th ann. of the beatles first appearance 2/8/64 with robin williams. seen jon stewart and colbert in 2008 once.they should bring back jon oliver from HBO to take colbert 's slot. or even better, LEWIS BLACK!!!

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Doug April 12 2014 at 1:20 AM

Stephen Colbert is gonna knock 'em dead. He's one of the most talented people in the business.

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Mick April 10 2014 at 3:00 PM

I'm just really sorry that Sam Clemens and Will Rogers were no longer available for the position.

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barryaclarke April 10 2014 at 3:47 PM

To bad the network powers to be didn't pick someone who would draw an audience such as Tina Fey.......................

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2 replies
lessismore4044 barryaclarke April 10 2014 at 3:55 PM

I agree

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thomasminor barryaclarke April 10 2014 at 4:08 PM

As much as I love Tina Fey I don't think she would do well in that kind of format. I reallyt don't recall seeing her do anything that wasn't scripted. Even if you threw in Amy Poeler the best one could hope for is variety like Carol Burnett with a touch of Weekend Update... So what about the rest of the week?

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Scott April 10 2014 at 2:43 PM

Good luck to him.

I don't mind when he skewers the Right or the Left---They probably deserved it.

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hlrey39 April 10 2014 at 4:06 PM

SAD, I will have to miss the Late Night show.

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tyrahanna April 10 2014 at 2:36 PM

who?

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dcb523stl April 10 2014 at 2:35 PM

NBC lost me with Jimmy Fallon taking over on "The Tonight Show"-notice I didn't say "replace" because Jimmy Fallon is no where near the caliber of Jay Leno-and now Colbert for Letterman...CBS will now lose me when that happens. I'm no 30-something nor an "old fogey" at 55. I'll take my $$$, watch my DISHNetwork channels and gladly support those advertisers.

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