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Stephen Colbert to Replace David Letterman

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Stephen Colbert has been named by CBS as David Letterman‘s replacement when Letterman retires from The Late Show next year. Colbert has been widely noted as one of the frontrunners for the job.

Colbert’s sharp wit and breadth of knowledge (and curiosity), evident on his Peabody Award-winning Comedy Central show The Colbert Report, will be a huge breath of fresh air for the late night spot on CBS. Letterman has been hosting his show since 1993.

Stephen Colbert

The Colbert Report, which follows Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show Monday through Thursday nights follows a “fake news” format, with Colbert taking the role of a slightly dim Conservative chat show host. On the air since 2005, Colbert has skewered pundits and politicos (mostly on the Right), but is also an excellent interviewer, using charm as much as satirical bite to get to the heart of the matter, making the occasional guest squirm in his or her seat.

Colbert will be quite a different stripe for the CBS show, which airs after local late night news programs. Like Letterman, Colbert can put forward a slightly folksy grace, but has to him much more of an edge, whether in monologue or in interview.

Will the format of The Late Show change with the introduction of the more political Colbert, bringing to network late night the edginess of the Colbert Report? Or will Colbert try to fit into the mold of late night network as it has been (albeit in evolution) since before the days of Johnny Carson? Will the Colbert retain his brand of topical humor, or tamp it down now that he’s “graduated” from “basic cable?”

And what will become of Colbert’s post Daily Show slot? I know Jon Oliver’s new Sunday night HBO series is set to debut April 27, but surely he has room in his schedule for a Monday-Thursday show…say at 11:30 p.m. on Comedy Central?

What do all think of the news? Let us know in the comments section!

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About Barbara Barnett

Barbara Barnett is publisher and executive editor of Blogcritics, as well as a noted entertainment writer. Author of Chasing Zebras: The Unofficial Guide to House, M.D., her primary beat is primetime television. But Barbara writes on an everything from film to politics to technology to all things pop culture and spirituality. She is a contributor to the book called Spiritual Pregnancy (Llewellyn Worldwide, January 2014) and has a story in Riverdale Ave Press' new anthology of zombie romance, Still Hungry for your Love. She is hard at work on what she hopes will be her first published novel.
  • Victor Lana

    I am disappointed. I thought this was a golden opportunity to give a woman a late night slot. My choices – Sarah Silverman, Amy Pohler, Tina Fey or even Melissa McCarthy. I find them all way funnier than Colbert, but this sounds like more of the old boy network annointing one of their own (Letterman – Stewart – Colbert). When does a woman get a shot at one of these gigs?

    • http://blogcritics.org/writers/barbara-barnett Barbara Barnett

      Good points Vic. I would like to see a woman on late night. Melissa McCarthy. Hmm. Interesting. But I really like the choice of Colbert.

  • Charlie

    Silverman would’ve been a disaster – she’s pretty tasteless. Tina Fey would’ve been interesting though.

    • http://blogcritics.org/writers/barbara-barnett Barbara Barnett

      I don’t think Silverman is right for network. Tina Fey might have been an interesting choice, but Colbert might bring something unique to late night

  • Jenny Murphy

    I love this clip of him 25 years ago making fun of Jesus:

  • bliffle

    Tina Fey is beautiful and smart and funny. I’ll never desert her. She always seems to deliver. Tina seems to find the funny bit no matter how obscure.

    Many people are funnier than Letterman and he was successful because, I think, he wasn’t mean and he handled intrusions between private and TV life well. Maybe the CBS people think the same of Colbert and think he will grow into an interesting role with the resulting audience. Maybe the CBS execs don’t see the same potential in the others.

  • Victor Lana

    I think Colbert is a “safe” choice – for CBS that is. If not a funnier woman (which I still think would have been an amazing choice for the network), there are men like Chris Rock or George Lopez who are infinitely better comics than Colbert who would have been inspiring choices. I never watched Letterman or Leno in the later years because they didn’t entertain me anymore, certainly not the way Fallon does now. You put a Chris Rock or George Lopez in there, and I am going to tune in every night. With Colbert, I’m sticking with Jimmy F.

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