"Stephen Colbert is one of the most inventive and respected forces on television," said CBS president and CEO Leslie Moonves in a statement. "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."
Colbert has inked a five-year deal with CBS to host the show. His Comedy Central show The Colbert Report has won four Emmys and two Peabody awards, and its contract expires at the end of the year.
"I'm thrilled and grateful that CBS chose me," Colbert said. "Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go grind a gap in my front teeth."
[Image: Flickr user Chris Huggins]