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Stephen Colbert to take over Letterman's Late Show throne

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Stephen Colbert will take over as the next host of The Late Show, CBS announced Thursday.

Follwing David Letterman's announcement that he would retire as host of The Late Show after 21 years in the chair, The Colbert Report host quickly became the front-runner for the position.

“Simply being a guest on David Letterman’s show has been a highlight of my career,” Colbert, who has been the host of The Colbert Report since 2006, said in a statement released by CBS. “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 signed a five-year deal with CBS, and will take over for Letterman in 2015. Letterman's exact retirement date has not yet been announced. 

“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,” Nina Tassler, Chairman of CBS Entertainment, said in a statement. ”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.”

No decision has been made on how Colbert, who has hosted The Colbert Report under a persona of a right-wing pundit, will host The Late Show. However, the Wall Street Joural reports that Colbert will drop his character as part of the move. CBS says that the creative elements and location of the Colbert-hosted Late Show "will be determined and announced at a later date.”

On Letterman’s run as host of The Late Show, CBS Chairman Les 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 Colbert Report is slated to wrap up in December, according to Comedy Central statement to The Verge. Comedy Central says that it “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 ground-breaking Colbert Report and wish Stephen the very best."

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