On April 3, Late Night Talk Show Legend David Letterman announced that he would retire in 2015 from his position as the host of CBS’s “The Late Show.” Thankfully, fans didn’t have to wait long to find out who would be taking Letterman’s seat. Stephen Colbert, host of Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report,” was announced by CBS as the new host of “The Late Show” earlier today.
Letterman, currently 66-years old, rose to fame as the host of “Late Night with David Letterman” in the 1980’s and early 1990’s. In 1992, Letterman was passed up by NBC for the position of host of The Tonight Show for Jay Leno. This would cause him to jump ship to NBC’s network TV rival CBS and start the Late Show, one of the most critically acclaimed talk shows in television history.
Dave’s impact on the world of TV and comedy doesn’t end with “The Late Show” though. His production company, Worldwide Pants, has produced and created many popular sitcoms and talk shows like “Everybody Loves Raymond” and “The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson.” Currently it is unknown if Letterman’s production company will produce “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.”
Stephen Colbert has long been considered the frontrunner for this job ever since speculation about Letterman’s looming retirement started getting press a few years ago. Colbert has won countless awards for his portrayal of an over-the-top right wing conservative on Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report” since the show began in 2005.
“Simply being a guest on David Letterman’s show has been a highlight of my career,” Colbert confessed in his official statement to the press.
“I never dreamed that I would follow in his footsteps, though everyone in late night follows Dave’s lead. I’m thrilled and grateful CBS chose me. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go grind a gap in my front teeth.”
Letterman had fond words for Colbert and of course couldn’t hold back from making a joke of his own in his statement to the press.
“Stephen has always been a real friend to me. 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.”
There is currently no set date for Letterman to retire in 2015 or when Colbert will officially start. Colbert has already confirmed that he will be leaving his uber-conservative character behind. Instead, he’ll be making you laugh with humor that isn’t aimed solely at the expense of politicians but the world as a whole.
“I won’t be doing the new show in character,” said Colbert. “So we’ll all get to find out how much of him was me. I’m looking forward to it.”
2014 has been a year of change for late night talk shows. Jay Leno officially stepped down as host of The Tonight Show for the second time. Jimmy Fallon took over The Tonight Show and has given the show a boost in ratings due to Fallon appealing to a younger demographic than Leno. Former Saturday Night Live actor and writer Seth Meyers then took over Jimmy Fallon’s duties at 12 a.m. as host of “Late Night with Seth Meyers.”
Colbert signed a five-year deal to host “The Late Show” so this unique late night experiment is guaranteed to go through 2020 at the least. Every 20 years there is usually a changing of the guard in the late night talk show scene and this new youth movement is aimed directly at the types of viewers who will stay up most of the night, not the Leno audience who used late night shows as amusement before going to sleep.