One of the first questions many observers asked after news broke today that Stephen Colbert will take over CBS's "Late Show" after David Letterman retires was: Which Stephen Colbert? The real guy, or the character he plays on his Comedy Central show?
Now we know the answer, and it comes right from the source: CBS boss Les Moonves. "Moonves says Colbert will not portray his Comedy Central character when he hosts the late-night show," CBS News reports. The piece notes that Colbert has signed a five-year deal with CBS.
Colbert, the host, writer and executive producer of Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report," will move into Letterman's job in 2015. The announcement came just a week after Letterman announced plans to retire.
Moonves didn't provide much in the way of specifics in the official statement, saying: "Stephen Colbert is one of the most inventive and respected forces on television. 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."
In a statement, Colbert said: "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."
The timetable for Letterman's departure and Colbert's premiere has yet to be determined. "According to CBS, 'Late Show' creative elements, as well as the producers and the location for the Colbert-hosted 'Late Show,' will be announced at a later date," the report notes.
Letterman released his own statement offering congratulations to Colbert, saying: "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."