It took CBS less time than many were predicting, but a short while ago the network announced the identity of David Letterman’s replacement at the helm of the “Late Show”: Stephen Colbert.
Entertainment Weekly reports, “CBS has made a five-year deal with Colbert, which was announced Thursday by CBS Corp. CEO Les Moonves and CBS Entertainment chairman Nina Tassler.
“Stephen Colbert is one of the most inventive and respected forces on television,” Moonves said. “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.”
The choice is interesting inasmuch as Colbert in his career at Comedy Central at least has been a persona rather than a straight comedian. As far back as when he was a cast member of “The Daily Show,” he played the part of a broadcast journalist, and since becoming the host of his own show, he has refined that persona further, presenting himself as an angry conservative. In point of fact, Colbert is a dyed-in-the-wool liberal.
Presumably CBS would not have offered him a contract without some assurance he can do regular comedy, including a monologue. The question, however, is whether any of the youthful fans that follow him over from his soon-to-be-erstwhile gig are prepared to accept him in this new role.
Time will tell.