stephen colbert

Well, that was fast.  Just one week after David Letterman announced that he would be retiring from The Late Show in 2015, CBS has announced that former Daily Show correspondent and beloved host of the satirical The Colbert Report, Stephen Colbert, will take over for Letterman in 2015.

Or, as Colbert put it, “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.”

This comes as something of a surprise—despite the fact that Colbert was touted as the lead choice to replace Letterman, The Colbert Report is an anchor of Comedy Central’s late night programming, and Colbert seems to relish portraying the Fox News-esque “Stephen Colbert” on that show.

Further, there’s no telling if Colbert will bring his satirical persona along with him to The Late Show, or if he’ll play it somewhat straighter.  CBS’ press release notes that “specific creative elements…”will be determined and announced at a later date.”

Read the whole press release below:

The CBS Television Network today announced that Stephen Colbert, the host, writer and executive producer of the Emmy and Peabody Award-winning “The Colbert Report,” will succeed David Letterman as the host of THE LATE SHOW, effective when Mr. Letterman retires from the broadcast. The five-year agreement between CBS and Colbert was announced by Leslie Moonves, President and CEO, CBS Corporation, and Nina Tassler, Chairman of CBS Entertainment.

Letterman, the legendary, critically acclaimed host of the CBS late night series for 21 years, announced his retirement on his April 3 broadcast. Colbert’s premiere date as host of THE LATE SHOW will be announced after Mr. Lettermen determines a timetable for his final broadcasts in 2015.

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.

“Stephen Colbert is one of the most inventive and respected forces on television,” said Moonves. “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.”

“Stephen is a multi-talented and respected host, writer, producer, satirist and comedian who blazes a trail of thought-provoking conversation, humor and innovation with everything he touches,” said Tassler. ”He is a presence on every stage, with interests and notable accomplishments across a wide spectrum of entertainment, politics, publishing and music. We welcome Stephen to CBS with great pride and excitement, and look forward to introducing him to our network television viewers in late night.”

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

Adding, “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.”

What do you think of Colbert replacing Letterman?  And who should replace Colbert on Comedy Central?