Colbert "Thrilled and Grateful" to Take Over "Late Show"

"Simply being a guest on David Letterman's show has been a highlight of my career," Colbert said.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    AP
    In this file photo, David Letterman, left, welcomes fellow talk show host Stephen Colbert.

    It's official. Stephen Colbert is headed to "The Late Show."

    Colbert, an alumnus of The Second City improv troupe and the host, writer and executive producer of Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report," signed a five-year agreement with CBS to replace David Letterman as host of the late-night talk show.

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    "Simply being a guest on David Letterman's show has been a highlight of my career," Colbert said. "I never dreamed that I would follow in his footsteps, though everyone in late night follows Dave's lead." 
     
    Colbert joined the Second City after graduating from Northwestern University. He later created and starred in two comedy series for Comedy Central -- "Exit 57" and "Strangers with Candy" -- with Amy Sedaris and Paul Dinello, also Second City alums.

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    Colbert spent eight years as a correspondent on "The Daily Show" before "The Colbert Report" launched on the network in 2005.

    "I'm thrilled and grateful that CBS chose me," Colbert said. "Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go grind a gap in my front teeth."

    Letterman announced his retirement on April 3 and plans to determine a timetable with CBS for his final broadcasts in 2015. An exact date of Colbert's takeover has not been announced.

    CBS Corporation CEO Leslie Moonves called Colbert "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," Moonves said.