Colbert To Replace Letterman On CBS: Will It Work?

MichaelKolander by MichaelKolander on Apr. 10, 2014

Well, that didn't take long

CBS has announced that Stephen Colbert will replace David Letterman as the host of The Late Show sometime in 2015. Letterman announced his retirement just last week, and is expected to end his 33-year career as a late-night host sometime next summer.

Unfortunately for fans of Colbert, this will mean an end to the wildly popular Colbert Report, Comedy Central's long-running political satire. And while nothing has been confirmed, it will probably mean an end to Colbert's right-wing pundit persona, which will most likely be replaced by Colbert playing it straight, relatively speaking. Even so, it's a huge opportunity for Colbert to find an even larger audience.

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

While there's no question that Colbert is a skilled comedian, there's a big difference between network television and cable. Not to mention the fact that CBS's viewers definitely skew toward an older demographic. In a world where David Letterman was often chided for playing political favorites, how will a host who has made a name for himself by mocking conservatives be received? Granted, maybe the entire point of the move is to bring in fresh blood, but younger viewers tend to shy away from network television, so there's no guarantee they will follow.

What do you think? Will Colbert inject new life into CBS's late-night lineup, or will he crash and burn in a sea of unimpressed elderly viewers?

By the way, what about poor Craig Ferguson?