It's Official: Stephen Colbert to take over for Letterman hosting 'Late Show'

Stephen Colbert pops in for a visit to the 'Late Show' with David Letterman in 2011. (AP Photo)

NEW YORK (WJLA) - It's official - CBS has announced that Stephen Colbert will replace David Letterman as the host of "The Late Show," effective as soon as Letterman retires.

CBS announced a five-year agreement between the network and Colbert Thursday.

Colbert is the host, writer and executive producer of the Emmy and Peabody award-winning show "The Colbert Report," after getting his start on Jon Stewart's "The Daily Show."

Letterman announced his retirement on his April 3 broadcast. He has been hosting "The Late Show" for 21 years.

CBS executives said in a statement that the producers and the location for the Colbert-hosted show will be announced at a later date.

Leslie Moonves, president and CEO of CBS, said the network is pleased Colbert will be taking over the show.

"Stephen Colbert is one of the most inventive and respected forces on television," said Moonves. "David Letterman's legacy and accomplishments are an incredible source of pride for all of us here, and today's announcement speaks to our commitment of upholding what he established for CBS in late night."

"Stephen is a multi-talented and respected host, writer, producer, satirist and comedian who blazes a trail of thought-provoking conversation, humor and innovation with everything he touches," said CBS Chairman Nina Tassler. "We welcome Stephen to CBS with great pride and excitement, and look forward to introducing him to our network television viewers in late night."

Colbert expressed excitement over the deal as well.

"Simply being a guest on David Letterman's show has been a highlight of my career," said Colbert. "I never dreamed that I would follow in his footsteps, though everyone in late night follows Dave's lead."

He quipped, "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."