What you need to know about Stephen Colbert taking over the ‘Late Show’


CBS announced on Thursday that Stephen Colbert, right, the host of “The Colbert Report,” will succeed David Letterman, left, as the host of its “Late Show.” (AP)

On Thursday, CBS hired Stephen Colbert, 49, to host its “Late Show,” just one week after David Letterman announced his retirement. Here’s what you need to know:

Will Colbert break character?

Yes. Colbert’s publicist confirmed that he plans to drop the self-obsessed, ultraconservative persona he’s perfected over nine years on Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report.” It makes sense — he’s probably sick of it, and it’s hard to imagine that Colbert schmoozing with Lindsay Lohan or Kim Kardashian (as amusing as that sounds).

What’s the real Colbert like?

It’s rare for Colbert to appear in public as himself, but when he has — be it testifying in front of Congress or giving an earnest interview — he comes off as a pretty nice guy who’s just as smart and funny as conservative Colbert. He’ll probably sing and dance much more on CBS than he did on Comedy Central, but he hopefully won’t lose his satiric edge. According to former boss Jon Stewart, whom Vulture interviewed on Thursday, Colbert has “gears he hasn’t even shown people yet.”

When is this happening?

Sometime in 2015. Colbert will finish out 2014 on Comedy Central; then, when Letterman decides he’s ready to go, Colbert will take over. We don’t know where Colbert’s “Late Show” will tape, though. Both Los Angeles and New York have been vying for the series, though it’s doubtful he’d leave New York.

What does Comedy Central do?

Kick themselves for letting John Oliver jump ship for HBO. Chris Hardwick’s game show “@Midnight” probably isn’t moving to 11:30 p.m. because then it wouldn’t be on at midnight. Comedy Central did order a pilot for a late-night series called “The Chris Gethard Show,” based on the New York cult comedian’s bizarre, weekly public access show. But a colleague of mine had a better idea: Give “Daily Show” correspondents (and real-life married couple) Jason Jones and Samantha Bee a “Fox & Friends”-style morning talk show that happens to be set at night.

Rudi Greenberg is Express' Weekend Pass editor and comedy columnist.
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