CBS announces Stephen Colbert as next host of ‘The Late Show’

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NEW YORK, NY – FEBRUARY 17: Stephen Colbert visits ‘The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon’ at Rockefeller Center on February 17, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon)

NEW YORK (PIX11/AP) – Stephen Colbert has been chosen as the next host of “The Late Show,” CBS announced Thursday.

The move follow’s Letterman’s decision to retire in 2015, which was announced during last Thursday’s taping of the show.  Colbert is signed to a five-year contract.

Colbert said in a statement: “I never dreamed that I would follow in his footsteps, though everyone in late night follows Dave’s lead.”

Comedy Central’s Emmy-winning “The Colbert Report” has been a hit since its launch in 2005.

Letterman’s announcement came just weeks after his longtime rival, Jay Leno, retired from the NBC “Tonight Show.” Leno was replaced by Jimmy Fallon.

“Stephen has always been a real friend to me,” said Letterman in a statement.  “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.”

Letterman, who turns 67 on Saturday, has hosted “The Late Show” since 1993.