Stephen Colbert to replace David Letterman - New York News

Stephen Colbert to replace David Letterman

Posted: Updated:
David Letterman, left, shaking hands Stephen Colbert during a surprise visit on the "Late Show with David Letterman," May 4, 2011, in New York.  (CBS/Worldwide Pants Inc. via AP) David Letterman, left, shaking hands Stephen Colbert during a surprise visit on the "Late Show with David Letterman," May 4, 2011, in New York. (CBS/Worldwide Pants Inc. via AP)

By DAVID BAUDER | AP Television Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — CBS moved swiftly Thursday to replace the retiring David Letterman with Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert, who will take over the "Late Show" next year and do battle with Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel for late-night television supremacy.

Colbert, 49, has been hosting "The Colbert Report" at 11:30 p.m. ET since 2005, in character as a fictional conservative talk-show host. The character will retire with "The Colbert Report."

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

Letterman, who turns 67 on Saturday, announced on his show last week that he would retire sometime in 2015, although he hasn't set a date. CBS said Thursday that creative elements of Colbert's new show, including where it will be based, will be announced later.

Mayors of New York and Los Angeles have already publicly urged the new "Late Show" host to choose their city. New York would appear to have the clear edge, since Colbert is already based in New York and CBS owns the Ed Sullivan Theater, where the "Late Show" has been taped since Letterman took over in 1993.

Letterman offered his endorsement Thursday. "Stephen has always been a real friend to me," he said. "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."

It's a rapidly changing period for that time slot. Fallon took over for Jay Leno on NBC's "Tonight" show in February, and has dominated the ratings since his arrival, with Letterman and Kimmel running neck-and-neck for second. Chelsea Handler has also said she is about to end her talk show on E! Entertainment Television.

CBS chose not to break the mold: CBS, ABC and NBC will all compete at 11:35 p.m. with shows hosted by white males. CBS, which has an older audience and generally seeks personalities with the widest appeal possible, is taking a chance with a personality whose show has a much more specific appeal. But, like Fallon and Kimmel, Colbert is popular with young men and active on the Internet and social media.

"Our discussions really centered on finding the most talented, the most creative (choice), the person who was going to conduct the most interesting interviews and be the most interesting person himself, and that's what led us to Stephen," said Nina Tassler, CBS entertainment chairman. She said CBS considered several candidates, but did not name them.

Colbert's show won the Emmy for best variety series last year and has earned two Peabody Awards. It's another big move for a Jon Stewart protege: Colbert worked on "The Daily Show" for eight years before getting his own program, and John Oliver is about to launch a weekly show for HBO later this month.

The decision opens up a hole on Comedy Central's schedule. The network said in a statement Thursday that "we look forward to the next eight months of the ground-breaking 'Colbert Report' and wish Stephen the very best."

Stewart told New York magazine on Wednesday night that Colbert would be terrific for Letterman's job. Stewart said he likes what he does and Colbert has a better opportunity to broaden out his comedy than he would.

"He is a uniquely talented individual," Stewart said. "He's wonderful in 'Colbert Report,' but he's got gears he hasn't even shown people yet. He would be remarkable."

Tassler declined comment on what Colbert's ascension will mean for Craig Ferguson, who follows Letterman's show in the 12:35 a.m. time slot and was considered a candidate for Letterman's job.

Colbert would likely enter into some friendly competition with Fallon. Colbert appeared on Fallon's first "Tonight" show, one of a line of personalities in a gag involving people who had to "pay up" on a bet about whether Fallon would ever get the "Tonight" gig.

Brad Adgate, an analyst for Horizon Media, described Colbert as "the best talk-show host available." He said CBS wanted to move quickly to make its choice for Letterman's replacement before next month's meeting with advertisers in New York about the upcoming season's schedule.

"When you've got fire in the belly, you move fast," Tassler said.

___

Associated Press Writers Frazier Moore and Jake Coyle in New York, and Lynn Elber in Los Angeles, contributed to this report.


  • Manhattan NewsManhattan NewsMore>>

  • Manhattan nursery school's sanitizing machine keeps air clean

    Manhattan nursery school's sanitizing machine keeps air clean

    Thursday, July 24 2014 6:47 PM EDT2014-07-24 22:47:17 GMT
    All of us feel the same way about "cooties": Eww. At the Goddard School on the Upper West Side, a high-tech machine is keeping "cooties" out of the classroom. "This is the latest and then most effective sanitization method available today," says Bill Swan, the owner of the Goddard School. He purchased the ZONO Sanitech for his school about six months ago. The machine is the size of a double refrigerator and uses oxygen to kill viruses and bacteria.
    All of us feel the same way about "cooties": Eww. At the Goddard School on the Upper West Side, a high-tech machine is keeping "cooties" out of the classroom. "This is the latest and then most effective sanitization method available today," says Bill Swan, the owner of the Goddard School. He purchased the ZONO Sanitech for his school about six months ago. The machine is the size of a double refrigerator and uses oxygen to kill viruses and bacteria.
  • NYC's pickup basketball games moving indoors

    NYC's pickup basketball games moving indoors

    Thursday, July 24 2014 5:54 PM EDT2014-07-24 21:54:18 GMT
    Believe it or not this, some say New York's outdoor basketball courts are a dying entity. Even Rucker Park in Harlem -- where Dr. J and countless others honed their skills -- used to be standing room only all times of the day. Now there's plenty of room to stand on most days.Basketball programs like one at Chelsea Piers are gaining popularity. That means the place to hoop it up for many appears to be indoors.
    Believe it or not this, some say New York's outdoor basketball courts are a dying entity. Even Rucker Park in Harlem -- where Dr. J and countless others honed their skills -- used to be standing room only all times of the day. Now there's plenty of room to stand on most days.Basketball programs like one at Chelsea Piers are gaining popularity. That means the place to hoop it up for many appears to be indoors.
  • Ex-Sen. Lieberman to teach at Yeshiva University

    Ex-Sen. Lieberman to teach at Yeshiva University

    Thursday, July 24 2014 2:56 PM EDT2014-07-24 18:56:06 GMT
    Former U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman has been appointed a professor at Yeshiva University for the coming school year. The private university in New York City named him the Joseph Lieberman Chair in Public Policy and Public Service. He'll teach an undergraduate course and give three public lectures on topics ranging from Judaism and public service to the Middle East.
    Former U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman has been appointed a professor at Yeshiva University for the coming school year. The private university in New York City named him the Joseph Lieberman Chair in Public Policy and Public Service. He'll teach an undergraduate course and give three public lectures on topics ranging from Judaism and public service to the Middle East.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices