Stephen Colbert to replace Letterman on 'Late Show'

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Stephen Colbert to replace Letterman on 'Late Show'
NEW YORK - MAY 3: Stephen Colbert with David Letterman. (Photo by John Paul Filo/CBS via Getty Images)
NEW YORK - APRIL 22: Stephen Colbert, future host of the LATE SHOW, talks to David Letterman when Colbert visits the LATE SHOW with DAVID LETTERMAN, Tuesday, April 22 (11:35 PM-12:37 AM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. (Photo by Jeffrey R. Staab/CBS via Getty Images)
Stephen Colbert, winner of the best writing for a variety series award and the variety series award for 'The Colbert Report' poses backstage at the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards at Nokia Theatre on Sunday Sept. 22, 2013, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Dan Steinberg/Invision/AP)
THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JIMMY FALLON -- Episode 0015 -- Pictured: Talk show host Stephen Colbert on March 7, 2014 -- (Photo by: Lloyd Bishop/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
Comedian Stephen Colbert arrives at the White House in Washington on February 11, 2014 for the state dinner in honor of French President Francois Hollande. Hollande is on a three-day visit to the US. AFP PHOTO/Nicholas KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 31: Steven Colbert attends the Super Bowl XLVIII Party Hosted By Shape And Men's Fitness at Cipriani 42nd Street on January 31, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Mireya Acierto/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 11: Satirist Stephen Colbert speaks onstage at Robert F. Kennedy Center For Justice And Human Rights 2013 Ripple Of Hope Awards Dinner at New York Hilton Midtown on December 11, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images for Robert F. Kennedy Center For Justice And Human Rights)
Evelyn McGee and Stephen Colbert arrive at the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards at Nokia Theatre on Sunday Sept. 22, 2013, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
NEW YORK, NY- APRIL 2: David Letterman outside of The Ed Sullivan Theater while filming a segment for Late Show with David Letterman in New York.Credit:RW/MediaPunch
NEW YORK - JANUARY 02: People stand outside of the Ed Sullivan Theater during a taping of the Late Show with David Letterman on January 2, 2008 in New York City. This will be the first airing of the show since the Writers Guild of America went on strike November 5. Letterman and his production company World Wide Pants worked out an independent deal with his writers. (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama and David Letterman speak during a break in the taping of the 'Late Show with David Letterman' at the Ed Sullivan Theater on September 18, 2012 in New York, New York. AFP PHOTO/Brendan SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/GettyImages)
Lady Gaga and David Letterman are seen during a taping of the "Late Show with David Letterman" on Wednesday, April 2, 2014, in New York. (Photo by Greg Allen/Invision/AP)
NEW YORK - OCTOBER 16: Supporters and detractors of Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) stand outside the Ed Sullivan Theatre during McCain's taping of the 'Late Show with David Letterman' on October 16, 2008 in New York City. McCain visited the late night talk show after recently cancelling an appearance to tend to instead the nation's financial crisis in Washington. (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images)
In this photo provided by CBS, host David Letterman, right, applauds the U.S. men’s ski slopestyle Olympic medalists on the set of “Late Show with David Letterman,” Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014, in New York. From left are Nick Goepper, Gus Kenworthy and Joss Christensen. (AP Photo/CBS, Jeffrey R. Staab) MANDATORY CREDIT NO ARCHIVE, FOR NORTH AMERICAN USE ONLY
In this photo provided by CBS, Daytona 500 winner Jimmie Johnson, left, talks with host David Letterman during the taping of "Late Show with David Letterman," Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013, in New York. (AP Photo/CBS, Jeffrey R. Staab) MANDATORY CREDIT; NO SALES; NO ARCHIVE; FOR NORTH AMERICAN USE ONLY
David Letterman is seen during a taping of the "Late Show with David Letterman" on Wednesday, April 2, 2014, in New York. (Photo by Greg Allen/Invision/AP)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 31: Visitors stand in line for the Late Show with David Letterman in Times Square following Hurricane Sandy on October 31, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by John Lamparski/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama (L) jokes with David Letterman during a taping of the Late Show with David Letterman in New York on September 21, 2009. AFP PHOTO/Jim WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - JANUARY 02: A general view of the marquee of the Ed Sullivan Theater during a taping of the Late Show with David Letterman on January 2, 2008 in New York City. This will be the first airing of the show since the Writers Guild of America went on strike November 5. Letterman and his production company World Wide Pants worked out an independent deal with his writers. (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images)
David Letterman is seen during a taping of the "Late Show with David Letterman" on Wednesday, April 2, 2014, in New York. (Photo by Greg Allen/Invision/AP)
David Letterman is seen during a taping of the "Late Show with David Letterman" on Wednesday, April 2, 2014, in New York. (Photo by Greg Allen/Invision/AP)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 31: Visitors stand in line for the Late Show with David Letterman in Times Square following Hurricane Sandy on October 31, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by John Lamparski/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 22: TV host Stephen Colbert attends HBO's Annual Primetime Emmy Awards Post Award Reception at The Plaza at the Pacific Design Center on September 22, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 22: (EXCLUSIVE ACCESS SPECIAL RATES APPLY) Winner, Stephen Colbert, for Outstanding Variety Series for THE COLBERT REPORT during the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards which will be broadcast live across the country 8:00-11:00 PM ET/ 5:00-8:00 PM PT from NOKIA Theater L.A. LIVE in Los Angeles, Calif., on Sunday, Sept. 22 on the CBS Television Network. (Photo by Cliff Lipson/CBS Photo Archive/CBS via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 23: Stephen Colbert presents the Outstanding Lead Actress In A Comedy Series award onstage at the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences 64th Primetime Emmy Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on September 23, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Phil McCarten/Invision for the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences/AP Images)
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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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