CBS reportedly eyeing Stephen Colbert as next "Late Show" host

Mashable reports that the "Colbert Report" host is currently the "front-and-center" candidate

By Prachi Gupta
Published April 4, 2014 8:38PM (EDT)

Just a day after David Letterman announced his retirement from "Late Show," to take effect in 2015, Mashable reports that "Colbert Report" host Stephen Colbert is currently the "front-and-center" replacement candidate.

"Colbert has not had any formal contract discussions with CBS, and no agreement is in place, but sources tell Mashable that he first engaged with network executives while Letterman was still mulling the timing of his retirement," wrote the Web site. "Though CBS has had conversations with other candidates, including Colbert's Comedy Central counterpart Jon Stewart, individuals with knowledge of the situation say Colbert is currently the front-and-center candidate."

Were Colbert to succeed Letterman, it's likely that he'd have to lose his satirical right-wing television persona ("The Late Show" can't respond to hashtag activism the same way Comedy Central programming can). He'd also take on a more rigorous work week, hosting an hour-long show that airs five days a week.

The picks are not terribly surprising, as both Stewart and Colbert have years of experience hosting late night comedy programs and have collected a beloved fanbase (and its rumored that CBS has courted Stewart before). However, it goes against the hopes of many that perhaps CBS would break the late night television mold and give a prominent platform to a woman, person of color, or a member of the LGBT community.

Other celebrities likely to be thrown into the mix include current television personalities Ellen DeGeneres, Conan O'Brien and Craig Ferguson. Ferguson, as the current host of the "Late Late Show," which follows Letterman, would seem the logical choice. But the Hollywood Reporter has learned that just last year, the network set its sight on another "Daily Show" alumn, John Oliver, to take over for Ferguson. It's not clear what the future of CBS's late night programming is yet, but Letterman's eventual departure will lead to at least one -- if not a few -- major shakeups in late night TV.

Prachi Gupta

Prachi Gupta is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on pop culture. Follow her on Twitter at @prachigu or email her at

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