There will not be a long, protracted debate over who will replace DAVID LETTERMAN on "The Late Show" next year, because just one week after Dave announced his impending retirement, CBS has named his successor.
It's STEPHEN COLBERT. There's still no timetable for when Dave will leave and Stephen will take over, but it'll be sometime next year. Colbert signed a five-year deal.
In a statement, Stephen said, quote, "Simply being a guest on David Letterman's show has been a highlight of my career. 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."
CBS also made it official that Stephen will be dropping the super conservative character he plays on "The Colbert Report".
Stephen will continue doing "The Colbert Report" through the end of the year. There's no word on what Comedy Central will do with his timeslot after he leaves.
Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel Congratulate Stephen Colbert . . . Plus, Other Celebrity Reactions
Even though STEPHEN COLBERT is already competing against JIMMY FALLON and JIMMY KIMMEL . . . things are going to get a LOT tighter once Stephen moves from cable to take over for DAVID LETTERMAN on CBS.
Still, both Jimmys congratulated Stephen on his upcoming gig. Fallon Tweeted, quote, "I'd like to welcome the great Stephen Colbert to network late night and also congratulate him on his new name: Jimmy Colbert."
And Kimmel Tweeted, quote, "Congratulations to Stephen Colbert . . . a finer or funnier man I do not know."
Letterman released this statement: Quote, "Stephen has always been a real friend to me. I'm very excited for him, and I'm flattered that CBS chose him. I also happen to know they wanted another guy with glasses."
BILL O'REILLY, the not-so-secret inspiration for Colbert's character on "The Colbert Report", said, quote, "I hope Colbert will consider me for the Ed McMahon spot."
And JON STEWART said, quote, "He's a uniquely talented individual. He's wonderful on 'Colbert Report', but he's got gears he hasn't even shown people yet. He will be remarkable."
Jon's name has always been in the mix to take over for Letterman, dating back to 1993 when he was considered to replace Letterman on NBC, before the gig went to CONAN O'BRIEN. But he doesn't seem interested in the job anymore.
He says, quote, "I don't have that gear, I don't think . . . I really like what I do, not that Stephen doesn't. But he has a real opportunity to broaden out in a way that I don't." (There's more from Jon, here.)
Naturally, a lot of other celebrities have reacted. Here are a few highlights:
Katie Couric: "Congrats [on] replacing Dave! Now can I do your prostate exam? (Hopefully if u r reading this u saw that show!)"
Arsenio Hall: "Even though Dave Letterman wants ME to replace him, CBS wants Stephen Colbert! Oh well. You go SC! Congratz."
Arianna Huffington: "I think Stephen Colbert's first guest at CBS should be 'Stephen Colbert' from Comedy Central."
Michael Ian Black: "Congratulations to Stephen Colbert the person, and condolences to Stephen Colbert the character."