For nearly a decade,
The Comedy Central duo --
But with no openings on Comedy Central, Oliver departed the
It was unclear Thursday morning just how long the Colbert-to-CBS move has been in the works. CBS played its cards close to the vest, in large part because of CBS Chief Executive
Moonves and others at CBS, including CBS Entertainment Chairman Nina Tassler, also were slightly horrified by the messy late-night transitions at
However, Colbert replacing Letterman had been a scenario whispered about in media circles long before Letterman announced his decision last week to step down.
There was at least one strong clue that Colbert had been in the wings to replace Letterman for some time. In the summer of 2012, both Colbert and Stewart renewed their contracts with Comedy Central.
While Stewart's deal was extended for three years, until September 2015, Colbert got a shorter extension, to the end of this year, just in time to move over to CBS and "The Late Show."
He is expected to continue to anchor "The Colbert Report" for another eight months before shaking off his conservative pundit shtick for the new gig at CBS.
The succession plan for Letterman is the latest shift in a rapidly changing late-night landscape driven, in large part, by the success of Stewart and Colbert at Comedy Central.
Young viewers preferred Stewart and Colbert to the programs on the broadcast networks and that played a part in
ABC placed Jimmy Kimmel at 11:35 p.m., bumping
Comedy Central was mum on a Colbert replacement, saying only that it wished Colbert the very best.
Letterman echoed that sentiment:
"Stephen has always been a real friend to me. I'm very excited for him, and flattered that CBS chose him. I also happen to know they wanted another guy with glasses."