Hey, that was fast! CBS didn’t waste any time naming a replacement for David Letterman. The late-night host announced his retirement from The Late Show last week and in a move that will likely rattle the cage of Late Late Show host, and heir apparent, Craig Ferguson, Stephen Colbert is the new golden goose.
Yep, it’s Colbert, who’ll take over as new host of The Late Show when Dave hangs up his hat in 2015. According to this Thursday’s unexpected network announcement, the Colbert Report will assume hosting duties after Dave “determines a timetable for his final broadcasts in 2015.”
Additionally, “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.” It’s still up in the air whether the show will remain in New York and continue to broadcast from the historic Ed Sullivan Theater or potentially move to Colbert’s homebase of Los Angeles.
Ah — but this wouldn’t be showbiz if there wasn’t at least one potential bump in the road; Ferguson is in the midst of renegotiating his contract, which reportedly includes a stipulation that if Dave were to retire and someone other than him is hired as Late Show host, CBS will be on the hook for a massive payout to the Scot, reportedly somewhere between $8 million and $12 million. Sounds like a pretty expensive bump. CBS is rumored to be in chats with Chelsea Handler — who will leave E! at the end of her contract — about replacing Ferguson should he decide to exit CBS.
Stephen didn’t say anything about bumps as he championed this latest late-night torch-passing in 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.”
Colbert has been seen as the frontrunner ever since Dave made his surprise announcement last Thursday, leading the pack of potential candidates that was also said to include Ellen DeGeneres, Neil Patrick Harris and British presenter Louis C.K.
Colbert will remain on The Colbert Report for eight more months, according to Comedy Central:
“Comedy Central is proud that the incredibly talented Stephen Colbert has been part of our family for nearly two decades. We look forward to the next eight months of the groundbreaking Colbert Report and wish Stephen the very best.”
Wethinks not everyone will be so pleased with Stephen’s appointment. Just this month, Colbert came under fire, with calls for his ousting (#CancelColbert), after he inadvertently offended Asian-Americans while trying to offend Washington Redskins owner Daniel Synder.
Now we guess the only question is: Will Stephen bring Ching Chong to CBS?