It’s Official: Stephen Colbert to take Over Late Show Helm

CBS has officially named Stephen Colbert to succeed David Letterman as host of “The Late Show,” handing the reins of its flagship latenight program to a cable host who has found success in attracting young male viewers by playing a character, rather than himself.

According to Variety:

david-lettermanThe decision comes about a week after Letterman announced during a taping of his program that he would retire from the program – and the longest tenure as a late night host on broadcast TV – sometime in 2015. In doing so, Letterman will turn the time period over to an entirely new generation of hosts, severing TV’s last link to the days when Johnny Carson dominated the daypart. These days, latenight is a splintered environment, with three broadcast programs as well as wee-hours bastions in place on Viacom’s Comedy Central, Time Warner’s TBS and NBC Universal’s Bravo and E!

When Colbert sits behind the desk of the CBS program, as he is set to do at a currently undetermined date in 2015, he will likely do it with a new presentation –  not as the right-wing caricature he plays in his current perch on Comedy Central. CBS said creative elements, producers and even the location of the show will be announced at a later date. “He is not going to play that character,” said Nina Tassler, chairman of CBS Entertainment, in an interview.

And yet, it is Colbert’s inventiveness CBS is likely banking on to help it gain in the ongoing late-night wars. “It has usually been our policy that when you hire the right person, you let them be creative and let them do their job,” said Tassler. “We are extremely excited about what he’s going to bring to the time slot.”

Colbert will be the Eye’s entry into a race that has already started. Both ABC and NBC have already turned their latenight programming over to younger hosts – Jimmy Kimmel for the Alphabet and Jimmy Fallon at the Peacock. Colbert will have to hit the ground running, mastering a broadcast venue that demands mainstream appeal while trying to maintain the current fan base that has made his “Colbert Report” a mainstay for the Viacom-owned network.

But his appeal to younger viewers is hard to ignore. Viewers of Comedy Central’s “Colbert Report” had a median age of 41.9 in the last seven weeks, according  to Nielsen. Meantime, the median age of “Tonight Show” viewers since the Jimmy Fallon-led version has launched is 53.3, while that for viewers of ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel” is 55.8. Colbert will have to build his base, however: In the last seven weeks,  “Colbert Report” attracted an average of 633,000 viewers between 18 and 49, the demographic most coveted by advertisers, according to Nielsen. Fallon’s “Tonight Show” lured an average of 2 million, while “Kimmel” attracted an average of 852,000 and Letterman’s “Late Show” notched an average of 710,000.

Tassler kept any thoughts what Colbert’s “Late Show” might look like to a minimum. “It’s really important he be given the opportunity to develop and create his show,” she said.

While one might think CBS would have had conversations with various Letterman replacements prior to the current “Late Show” host’s decision last week, Tassler said CBS only reached out to Colbert once the “starting gun” of Letterman’s desire to retire was clear. “One name just stood out above the rest,” said Tassler. She cited his background in the Second City improv comedy troupe and his “extraordinary intellect” as factors in his appeal to CBS executives.

“Stephen Colbert is one of the most inventive and respected forces on television,” said Leslie Moonves, chief executive of CBS, in a prepared 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.”

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

In a statement, Letterman blessed the succession: “Stephen has always been a real friend to me. I’m very excited for him, and I’m flattered that CBS chose him,” Letterman said. “I also happen to know they wanted another guy with glasses.”

The current incarnation of “The Late Show” is owned and produced by Letterman’s Worldwide Pants production company, but ownership of the show and the name will be CBS’ once the transition is made, Tassler said.

She declined to speak in great detail about the potential future of Craig Ferguson, who has been holding forth at 12:37 a.m. after “The Late Show” since 2005.  CBS has been looking at its latenight schedule “one hour at a time,’” Tassler said. “We have a very good relationship with him. He’s our 12:30 guy.” She declined to comment on whether the host would stay with CBS or move on, given the Colbert decision.

According to people familiar with the situation, Ferguson’s discussions with CBS continue and he has not decided whether to stick with his show or leave. The host is supposed to tape two episodes of his show today and is likely to address the issue in the one set to air tonight, these people said. In a tweet, Ferguson congratulated Colbert and said, “Welcome to the CBS funhouse.”

Comedy Central is expected to take some time to devise a replacement for “Colbert Report,” which, given its focus on a character originated by its host, cannot continue. According to a person familar with the situation. a bevy of options are up for consideration, including creating a new program with talent from “The Daily Show,” the 11 p.m. mainstay that precedes “Colbert Report,”  giving the slot to “@midnight,” the new program hosted by Chris Hardwick recently launched at 12 a.m.; or something new entirely.

“Comedy Central is proud that the incredibly talented Stephen Colbert has been part of our family for nearly two decades,” the network said in a statement. “We look forward to the next eight months of the ground-breaking Colbert Report and wish Stephen the very best.”

In his perch on Comedy Central, Colbert has proven more willing to embrace advertisers than many of his peers, devoting minutes-long segments to discussions of PepsiCo’s Doritos or Mondelez International’s Wheat Thins. At the same time, he makes fun of the products, and not always in a good-natured way. Will CBS let the practice continue? “That’s a bridge we’ll cross at some later point,” said Tassler.


So what do you think? Will you watch the new Late Show? Are you happy with the choice? Let us know in the comments below!

Tech Tuesday: Google, Hulu and Twits!

Welcome to another edition of Tech Tuesday! Here are the top stories in the tech world you may have missed!

Google Logo: Diver Down!

Honoring Jules Verne, the French author who pioneered the Science Fiction genre, Google has an interactive logo today that allows you to explore the depths of the sea.

Jules, best known for his classic novels ‘Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea’, ‘A Journey to the Center of the Earth’, and ‘Around the World in Eighty Days’ was born on this day in 1828.

Check out the interactive logo HERE.

TwitPic Launches Video for Twitter

Twitpic is bringing support for video to Twitter today, allowing users to timely share their clips. Now, instead of posting your links to YouTube to spread your awesome vid, you can upload it over to Twitpic and share it immediately.

So be sure to tweet @yakkityyaks so we don’t somehow miss your video! Hey, if it’s a good one, it may just get notice on Webtastic Wednesday!

“The Social Break-Up” Study

A study that surveyed 1500 consumers on why they unsubscribe, unlike, or unfollow brands in the social media world was conducted, and the results are in! I would think this shouldn’t be surprising…

More than 90% say they they do it because of too frequent, irrelevant or boring communications. Of the 1500, 91% have opted out of e-mails, 81% have “unliked” on Facebook to remove the company from their News Feed, and 77% say they are just more cautious about who they share their information and e-mail with.

So, now that you have that shocking information (sarcasm), why don’t you go follow the Yak on Facebook and Twitter! We promise not to bore you, too much anyway, and we promise to NEVER share ANY of your information, including your e-mail address!

T-Mobile – All Phones FREE!

As part of a special Valentine’s Day promotion, T-Mobile will offer all of the phones in it’s inventory for free with a new 2 yr. contract this Friday and Saturday. (February 11th and 12th.)

This includes their high-end Smartphones, like the HTC HD7, the T-Mobile G2 and the Samsung Vibrant. You can see a list of all the offers on T-Mobiles website HERE.

These are huge savings, but just like all other companies, I’m sure you will still need to pay the sales tax based on the original price. To take advantage of their offer, you must go to a T-Mobile store. However, there will be some offerings online if you wish to order from the comfort of your home.

Care to guess if this is really just for Valentines Day, or could it be because the Verizon iPhone comes out this weekend? Hmmmm.

The Daily Show and The Colbert Report Returns to Hulu

Fans of Jon Stewart, Colbert and Hulu unite! Both shows are returning to a computer near you. Hulu closed a major deal with Viacom last week, and as part of the deal, a “selection of great current programming from MTV, Comedy Central, VH1, TV Land, BET, and other Viacom channel brands will also be added to Hili Plus.

What does this mean for us? Well, previously the two above shows were on Hulu (free) and have now moved to Hulu Plus. Hulu Plus is a subscription based service that currently costs $7.99 a month. It’s a nice add if you are thinking about cutting the cable cord and accessing HULU through other platforms attached to your TV.

Well there you have it, all caught up. So, what do you think? Will you subscribe to Hulu? Will you run out this weekend for a new T-Mobile phone? Will you @yakkityyaks your Twitpic video? Let us know below!

Jon Stewart, Colbert – Rallies, Apologies and Donations

With the rallies coming up, the insult heard ’round the world, subsequent firing of CNN Host Rick Sanchez, the rousing of said “insultee,” apologies, and donations being sought to restore the National Mall in Washington, Jon Stewart has held his share of the News Media lately.

If you are somehow behind the times on the whole insult thing, apparently CNN Host Rick Sanchez, on a radio show, called Jon Stewart a bigot, and said that Hollywood, including the network he once worked for, are all “run by Jews.” CNN did not take very well to that comment, and within mere hours, Rick Sanchez was fired from his position at CNN (and a replacement show was immediately put in his show’s place, that we at the Yak have heard isn’t doing real well.)

It’s a dangerous game, insulting Stewart. By doing so, you MUST know what’s coming, and of course, it didn’t take long. Stewart, commenting on the whole fiasco, asks for a “cleaner” Sanchez, rather than a “dirty” one. (I must admit, I do get a kick out of anyone that tried to ruffle Jon Stewart’s feathers… it certainly makes for some interesting TV.)

Since, Sanchez has apologized to Stewart, and anyone else he offended, in what he calls “inartful comments” he had made during that radio show. His apology came 5 days after he was fired from CNN, stating that he had spoken with Stewart on Monday, and they had a “very good conversation.” Comedy Central would not confirm whether or not that conversation took place.  My guess is Rick Sanchez will most likely be a guest soon on the Daily Show.

On a more serious note, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert are asking donors to help restore the National Mall in Washington.  On the “Rally to Restore Sanity” website, Stewart asks attendees to “pick up after themselves in the name of sanity and reasonableness” and that “We feel it’s important to preserve this historic site for future rallies and for future Americans to rally on! But just in case you accidentally, like, put a beverage down on the Mall’s coffee table without using a coaster, we figure that giving a little something back to the National Mall might, at least, soften the blow.”

Stephen Colbert is asking his attendees on his “Keep Fear Alive” website to donate to ‘Donors Choose’ which raises money for school supplies.

The National Mall in Washington has more visitor each year than Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon and Yosemite Parks combined, and has thousands of events held there every year. These events have impacted the area greatly. Sidewalks are crumbling, grass can no longer grow, and it’s reflecting pools are filled with stagnant water.  Stewart selected ‘Trust for the National Mall’ as his charity of choice.

To donate, click on the website links above. Both are excellent causes. Big thanks go out to Stewart and Colbert for throwing in the funny and the charity. Now, when is the bus coming to the Yak to pick us up for the rallies? Jon? Stephen? Arianna?  Anyone?