That was fast!

Although David Letterman’s replacement wasn’t expected to be named so soon, a mere week after Dave’s surprise retirement announcement CBS has gone ahead and chosen his successor: Stephen Colbert, who’ll take over as new host of The Late Show when Dave retires next year.

According to this morning’s unexpected network announcement, the Colbert Report host has been officially named new Late Show host, with the date of his first day on the job to be announced after Dave “determines a timetable for his final broadcasts in 2015.”;

In addition, “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.”; At this point, it’s still up in the air whether the show will remain in New York and continue to broadcast from the Ed Sullivan Theater, or potentially move to Los Angeles.


Colbert has been seen as the frontrunner ever since Dave made his surprise announcement last Thursday, leading the pack of potential candidates that was also said to include Ellen DeGeneres, Neil Patrick Harris and Louis C.K.

“Stephen Colbert is one of the most inventive and respected forces on television,” said CBS CEO Les Moonves in a statement. “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.”;

Added CBS chairman Nina Tassler: “Stephen is a multi-talented and respected host, writer, producer, satirist and comedian who blazes a trail of thought-provoking conversation, humor and innovation with everything he touches. He is a presence on every stage, with interests and notable accomplishments across a wide spectrum of entertainment, politics, publishing and music. We welcome Stephen to CBS with great pride and excitement, and look forward to introducing him to our network television viewers in late night.”;


“Simply being a guest on David Letterman’s show has been a highlight of my career,” said Colbert. “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.”;

Meanwhile, the man who’s hosted The Late Show since 1993 offered high praise to his successor: “Stephen has always been a real friend to me,”; said David Letterman in a statement. “I’m very excited for him, and I’m flattered that CBS chose him. I also happen to know they wanted another guy with glasses.”

A clue about the timing of this late-night torch-passing can be found in Comedy Central’s subsequent announcement, which notes that Colbert will remain on The Colbert Report for eight more months: “Comedy Central is proud that the incredibly talented Stephen Colbert has been part of our family for nearly two decades. We look forward to the next eight months of the ground-breaking Colbert Report and wish Stephen the very best.”;

Colbert’s Comedy Central cohort Jon Stewart offered some prescient comments last night when he was asked if he thought Colbert would be a good fit on The Late Show: “He’s a uniquely talented individual,”; said Stewart. “He’s wonderful in Colbert Report, but he’s got gears he hasn’t even shown people yet. He would be remarkable.”;

One potential bump in the road; The Late Late Show“s Craig Ferguson is currently in the midst of renegotiating his contract, which reportedly includes a stipulation that if Dave were to retire and someone other than him is hired as Late Show host, CBS will be on the hook for a massive payout to the Scottish funnyman, reportedly somewhere between $8 million and $12 million.

In addition, CBS has reportedly been meeting with Chelsea Handler — who’s repeatedly expressed her desire to leave E! — about replacing Ferguson should he not renew his contract and exit CBS.

As for how this will all play out…stay tuned.

Immediately after the announcement the congratulatory tweets began rolling in, beginning with fellow late-night funnymen Jimmy Fallon and Craig Ferguson: