Congratulations to Stephen Colbert!

Well, it’s official — South Carolina’s own Stephen Colbert will replace David Letterman. From the CBS release:

     The CBS Television Network today announced that Stephen Colbert, the host, writer and executive producer of the Emmy and Peabody Award-winning “The Colbert Report,” will succeed David Letterman as the host of THE LATE SHOW, effective when Mr. Letterman retires from the broadcast. The five-year agreement between CBS and Colbert was announced by Leslie Moonves, President and CEO, CBS Corporation, and Nina Tassler, Chairman of CBS Entertainment.

Letterman, the legendary, critically acclaimed host of the CBS late night series for 21 years, announced his retirement on his April 3 broadcast. Colbert’s premiere date as host of THE LATE SHOW will be announced after Mr. Letterman determines a timetable for his final broadcasts in 2015.

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….

Colbert has released a statement:

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

Does it seem to anyone else like this decision was made awfully quickly? Seems to me that when generational changes have occurred at The Tonight Show, for instance, the selection process has taken months.

Will this more-or-less snap decision pay off? I hope Colbert succeeds in this job. I wouldn’t have pictured him in it before the rumors started last week, so I’m a little concerned on that point. But he’s a smart and talented guy who thinks well on his feet, and I’m optimistic.

6 thoughts on “Congratulations to Stephen Colbert!

  1. Bryan Caskey

    Kind of a weird choice. Colbert really only has one joke. He plays this weird caricature of what leftists think a right-winger is. That’s basically his entire act. And that’s fine. However, that one joke doesn’t really translate into being a late-night host – because he’s leaving that one joke behind.

    Maybe Colbert is funny, maybe he’s not. I can’t really say, because I’ve really only seen him do one joke over the last few years – the Bill O’Reilly-schtick. And don’t get me wrong, he does that joke well. I just don’t think he has much of a range as a comedian.

    Just seems like a gamble to me. I guess the execs at CBS are betting he can lure the younger demo in. I wouldn’t know about that though. I stopped being part of the coveted 18-25 year old demographic awhile ago.

  2. Burl Burlingame

    Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, bless their hearts, feature more authors and writers than anyone else in the broadcast biz.

  3. Phillip

    In a way I sort of share Brian’s skepticism, though instead of the phrase “weird caricature of what leftists think a right-winger is,” I would substitute “brilliant satirist deftly but subtly exposing the logical, intellectual, and moral/ethical dead-ends at which modern American post-Reagan conservatism finds itself in the early 21st-century…” but, hey, that’s just me.

    Brian’s point about the one joke is well-taken. However, I remember that I did not think, when Colbert left the Daily Show, that he had what it took to sustain a show of his own, and I was certainly wrong about that. If he takes some of his writers with him, I wouldn’t be surprised if he succeeds at this, even if he does change his persona somewhat. Besides, I think there’s a certain satirical edge to him that will persist, even if he’s not doing the same “character” he has been doing in the “Report.”

  4. Harry Harris

    If Letterman were half as funny as he thinks he is, i would have watched sometimes. It will be refreshing to see a host capable of needling guests while still showing some deference and respect. Check out Fallon. I would expect Colbert to have political satire installed as some sort of recurring sketch (remember Carmack, et al on Carson?) or group of sketches. If not, much of his present audience won’t follow him there.

  5. Ralph Hightower

    I will miss the Colbert Report. I love the faux-news media: Colbert Report, Jon Stewart, The Onion.

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