Letterman Colbert

For everyone except maybe Suey Park, it seems odd to think of Stephen Colbert hosting a talk show where he’s not affecting the blustery conservatism of his persona on The Colbert Report.

But the Comedy Central host and former Daily Show contributor may be doing exactly that when he takes over for David Letterman when the late-night mainstay retires in 2014.

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After Letterman announced his retirement last week, the media went into overdrive speculating who would – and should fill the talk show host’s seat. Colbert was an early favorite among pundits and viewers, and CBS confirmed the choice Thursday.

In a statement, Colbert offered his gratitude for the opportunity, humbly acknowledging Letterman’s influence on virtually all late night hosts. “Simply being a guest on David Letterman’s show has been a highlight of my career,” he said.

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“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.”

Meanwhile, CBS’ press release included a statement from the network’s CEO Les Moonves, who indicated the choice was symbolic of the network’s continuing commitment to quality programming. “Stephen Colbert is one of the most inventive and respected forces on television,” 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.”

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According to The New York Times, Colbert will not continue to utilize the chicken hawk conservative persona that helped popularize him on Comedy Central. That said, the statement declined to reveal “specific creative elements” about his upcoming tenure on the show, also including whether or not the show will continue to film in New York.

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