Jon Stewart, the host of The Daily Show – which gave Stephen Colbert his start – offered up a warm recommendation for Stephen Colbert as the new host of The Late Show, following David Letterman’s retirement next year, in a Vulture interview that came out before CBS confirmed Colbert’s new gig.”[Colbert] is a uniquely talented individual,” Stewart said. “He’s wonderful in Colbert Report, but he’s got gears he hasn’t even shown people yet. He would be remarkable.”
Stewart went on to say that he was impressed by how Colbert had previously done “amazing” with “just that very narrow cast of character,” likely referring to the satirically right-wing slant of The Colbert Report. He also praised Colbert’s interviewing and acting skills, calling him an “excellent improvisational comedian.” Stewart said that watching Colbert expand up on those skills would be exciting.
The Daily Show host said that he no longer coveted Letterman’s gig – something he was courted for in 1993 before Late Night went to Conan O’Brien and again in 2002, when it was rumored Letterman would move from CBS to ABC. “I don’t have that gear, I don’t think,” Stewart said of The Late Show. “I just don’t really have it anymore. 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.”
Although Letterman has yet to determine a timetable, he said, when he announced his retirement, that he hopes to say his final good night in 2015, “for the love of God.” If that’s the case, he will have spent more than three decades as a late night host – more than any other in U.S. TV history.
Colbert has hosted The Colbert Report since 2005, following eight years as a correspondent on The Daily Show. His program has won two Peabody awards and four Emmys, and he also received a Grammy in January for the spoken-word edition of his book America Again: Re-Becoming the Greatness We Never Weren’t.
“Simply being a guest on David Letterman’s show has been a highlight of my career,” Colbert said in a statement. “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.”