Conan O’Brien lauds choice of Stephen Colbert as new ‘Late Show’ host

Conan O'Brien says the "Late Show" after Stephen Colbert takes over "is going to be fantastic."
(Ben Margot / Associated Press)

Conan O’Brien is playing nice in late-night land.

The comedian and former host of “The Tonight Show” praised the choice of Stephen Colbert to replace David Letterman on the “Late Show” in 2015. Colbert’s brand of wit, satire and high jinks, which is expected to be refashioned in his new role, is at least partly a move by CBS to go after a younger audience after a long reign by the cranky but endearing 67-year-old Letterman.

“I love Stephen. I think Stephen’s great. I’m a huge fan of his as a comic and as a human being,” O’Brien, who hosts “Conan” on TBS, told the Associated Press. “I think it’s fantastic. I’m really glad he got the job, and I look forward to seeing his show. He’s going to be fantastic.”

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O’Brien, who has been rehearsing for Sunday’s MTV Movie Awards at Los Angeles’ Nokia Theatre, which he will host, told the AP he “wasn’t up for” Letterman’s spot. “I’m very happy where I am.”

The question for the late-night industry and many viewers is how much Colbert, 49, will have to alter his on-camara persona once he leaves Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report.” Colbert’s success has been a blend of satire, antics, comedy, skits, songs and fearlessness that has made him both unique to television and critically acclaimed. Will his send-ups and skewering of politicians -- especially conservatives -- continue, turn sedate or be wholly reinvented? Will he sing?

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


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