5 Reasons Stephen Colbert Is a Smart Pick for 'The Late Show'

5 Reasons Stephen Colbert Is a Smart Pick for 'The Late Show'
Image credit: David Shankbone
Entrepreneur Staff
Staff Writer. Covers leadership, media, technology and culture.
3 min read

As is the way of the internet, no sooner had David Letterman announced his retirement last week, then did lists of his possible replacements (Top 10 lists, naturally) start appearing online.

It came as somewhat of a surprise today when CBS ended the conjecture with a swift announcement of his successor. So rejoice, Nation: Stephen Colbert is going to take Letterman's place at the helm of The Late Show in 2015. 

In a statement, CBS network president and CEO Leslie Moonves said Colbert "is one of the most inventive and respected forces on television."

Related: Have an Idea for a Sitcom? NBC Is Listening.

No argument here, and it will be interesting to see if or even how Colbert adjusts and repurposes his Comedy Central-bred "Stephen Colbert" persona for network TV. On The Colbert Report, his character offers an incisive, often delightful, funhouse-mirror take on the bombast and blanket statements of American punditry (with special mention to Fox News personality Bill O'Reilly). But will Stephen Colbert host The Late Show as just, well, Stephen Colbert?  He has testified before Congress in character, so it's hard to say.

With NBC's reshuffling of its late-night roster came a consistent argument that the late night landscape is a homogenous one, populated predominantly by white, male comedians. In eight months' time Comedy Central's 11:30 p.m. timeslot will be wide open, and there is an incredible amount of diverse talent who could step up. 

Related: Changing Channels: With Fire TV, Amazon Enters the Blazing Set-Top Box Arena

But until then, here are five reasons why Colbert will make The Late Show all his own.

He's already made an impact on the pop culture lexicon

In a word, truthiness.

He has some serious nerd cred

Colbert is a self-professed J.R.R. Tolkien super fan. He's interviewed Peter Jackson (wearing Hobbit feet, of course) in a studio decorated to look like the Shire.  He's had a cameo in The Hobbit, and hilariously showed up James Franco with his knowledge of Tolkien trivia.

He's a man of many talents

Sure, Grammy's, Emmy's and Peabody Awards are nice, but Colbert has also run for president, twice (in South Carolina, anyway), he's a children's book author, and he sings too. He's performed Stephen Sondheim's Company at the New York City Philharmonic, and here he is duetting with Audra McDonald.

His name is everywhere 

A treadmill on the International Space Station, a Ben Jerry's ice cream flavor, a bald eagle at the San Francisco Zoo and a species of trapdoor spider all bear Colbert's name.

He's not afraid to speak truth to power, with a smile 

Colbert's 2006 hosting job of the White House Correspondents' Dinner has been considered a master class in it. And he's no stranger to interviewing political heavy hitters. 


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