“Every name in town came up, we got a lot of calls from agents and managers, but the one that stood out amongst all of them was Stephen Colbert,” Moonves said in an interview (above) during “CBS This Morning” on Friday. “It appeared to us that he was the only logical successor to David. And when I called Dave to ask for his blessing he said exactly the same thing. He said, ‘I can’t think of anybody even a close second.'”
CBS announced Colbert as Letterman’s successor on Thursday. The “Colbert Report” host and former “Daily Show” correspondent signed a five year deal with the network, which will kick in after Letterman hosts his last “Late Show” in 2015.
Colbert clarified he’ll be leaving his faux conservative schtick behind for the new gig, and Moonves is confident audiences will enjoy the real Colbert as much as the fake one that currently parodies right-wing pundits.
“You know, Stephen is so multi-talented. He’s good at improv; he’s good at interviewing; he’s good at sketch comedy. We have no doubt,” Moonves said. “Obviously the character he does on Comedy Central is going to be ending, but then he’s going to bring Stephen Colbert to the table. And we have no question that this guy is so talented that the persona of Stephen Colbert is going to work so well in late night. It’s going to be original, it’s going to be smart, and it’s going to be better than what anyone else has.”