Colbert Plans To Take Up The Late Night Mic For CBS

CBS announced that comedian Stephen Colbert will replace David Letterman as a late night host on the network. Letterman, who turns 67 on Saturday, announced his retirement last week.

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The coveted spot held by David Letterman for 21 years will go to Stephen Colbert. CBS made the announcement today. As NPR's Elizabeth Blair reports, diehard fans of the Emmy Award-winning "Colbert Report" are mourning this news and others are excited to see what the real Colbert has in store.

ELIZABETH BLAIR, BYLINE: First, Stephen Colbert has said he will not be doing "The Late Show" in character, meaning the over-the-top, right-wing narcissistic character he created for Comedy Central.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, 'THE COLBERT REPORT')

STEPHEN COLBERT: Tonight, big news from the tech world. Will he finally learn the purpose of the F8 key? Then, Obama wants equality in the workplace. That makes no sense. Why would I stare at man's chest?

BLAIR: The faux Colbert was definitely not politically correct and that was part of the joke. But his parody of TV news anchors still managed to outrage and offend. Just recently, he got into hot water over a tweet that quoted one of his jokes. Here's how he explained the controversy on his show.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, 'THE COLBERT REPORT')

COLBERT: To find out what happened to me on the Internet, we turned to the TV.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: People are calling for Stephen Colbert's show to be cancelled after a tweet about Asians appeared on the Comedy Central Twitter account.

BLAIR: The cancel Colbert campaign gave the fake Colbert even more material.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, 'THE COLBERT REPORT')

COLBERT: I'm not gonna lie. This was close. We almost lost me. I'm never going to take me for granted ever again.

BLAIR: Now, Comedy Central has lost Stephen Colbert to CBS. Sean McCarthy, editor of The Comic's Comic.com says he's not surprised.

SEAN MCCARTHY: After 10 years of pretending to be a version of Stephen Colbert for Comedy Central, there was nothing for him to do except for to show his true colors. And this is a chance for him to really blossom and grow into a role on a bigger stage.

BLAIR: McCarthy says it's been years since TV audiences have seen the real Colbert.

MCCARTHY: The real Stephen Colbert is just as funny and as charming as the faux blowhard conservative Colbert version is. He's just a lot more sincere.

BLAIR: In a statement, CBS president and CEO Les Moonves praised David Letterman's 21-year legacy as host of "Late Night" and called Colbert one of the most inventive forces on television. Colbert signed a five-year contract with CBS. He'll take the "Late Night" chair sometime next year, once Letterman decides on the date of his final farewell. Elizabeth Blair, NPR News.

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