Just hours ago, CBS confirmed Stephen Colbert will replace David Letterman when the latter steps down from his position as host of "The Late Show" sometime in 2015, leaving many fans wondering who is going to replace Stephen Colbert and The Colbert Report on Comedy Central?
Of course, seconds after David Letterman announced his impending retirement from "The Late Show", we have to assume Comedy Central began planning for the possible departure of either Colbert or "The Daily Show" host Jon Stewart. While the former seemed like a far likelier hire than the latter, people who get paid lots of money to prepare for these sorts of situations tends to be the Type A folks who are going to prepare for literally anything.
Given the timeline for Letterman's departure -- "a year or so" from his April 8 announcement -- it seems likely we won't know for at least a few weeks who Colbert's successor will be. But we've got our own theories for who might replace Stephen Colbert on Comedy Central, and we'd love to hear from you (down in the comments section) if you've got a theory of your own!
Possible Stephen Colbert Replacements
Possible Stephen Colbert Replacement #1 - John Oliver
Sure, he just signed a contract with HBO back in November, but does anyone really believe Comedy Central couldn't get back last summer's interim Daily Show host -- and one of the best correspondents in "The Daily Show"'s 18-year history -- if they really wanted to?
Yes, if Oliver had stuck with the network for a few more months, none of this would even be an issue. And, like the Type A people we described above, we've prepared a short list of other potential candidates for the job. All of that said, if there's any justice in the world, an Oliver-helmed show will replace "The Colbert Report" next year.
Recent reports may have suggested Chelsea Handler was vying for host of "The Late Show" and/or "The Late Late Show" (had Craig Ferguson been moved up), but neither of those scenarios appear to be coming to fruition any time soon. But that does seem to mean at least two things are true.
1. Chelsea Handler is still interested in hosting a late night show.
2. Chelsea Handler is currently without a late night show.
Sure, it would mean waiting around and/or staying in the pre-production phase of any potential show for at least twelve months, until the Letterman/Colbert switcheroo actually takes place. But who wouldn't kill for a good excuse to take a year-long vacation?
Possible Stephen Colbert Replacement #3 - Chris Hardwick
We technically don't have any confirmation that Comedy Central is actually looking to continue airing political satire in the timeslot currently held by "The Colbert Report," and Chris Hardwick's new show (@midnight) offers one possible off-ramp if the network is indeed looking to change things up. Not only would Hardwick's latest endeavor benefit from a much strong lead-in, it's hard to argue the fact that the Nerdist founder clearly has some level of mass appeal, and the move could also help Comedy Central generate interest in live programming among the "@midnight" host's extensive online audience.
Possible Stephen Colbert Replacement #4 - Samantha Bee
As the longest-serving correspondent on "The Daily Show," we don't know how Comedy Central couldn't at least float the idea of a new program helmed by Samantha Bee. To be honest, we're not 100 percent certain just what a Samantha Bee show would look like, but that kind of makes us want it even more.
Television is fairly predictable these days, especially when it comes to the increasingly crowded field of late night talk shows. Meanwhile, Samantha Bee has been one of the best and most-consistent personalities of anybody on the network. What more could Comedy Central really hope for?
Possible Stephen Colbert Replacement #5 - Wyatt Cenac
Yes, we've got four different "Daily Show" alumni on this list. What did you expect? We're talking about possible replacements for a show born of a character that Colbert played during his days as a correspondent of "The Daily Show." Wyatt Cenac may not currently be a member of the "Daily Show" cast, but he was fantastic during his time on the program, and doesn't appear to be tied to any particular show/network at this time.
Like Oliver, there's certainly an argument to be made against Cenac, for leaving the network to pursue other endeavors back in 2012. But, let's let bygones be bygones. Wyatt Cenac is as deserving of the post-"Daily Show" spot as anyone else who may or may not be on the Comedy Central shortlist.
It didn't take long for veteran late night host Arsenio Hall to express his thoughts on the hiring of Stephen Colbert, but we'd hope the people at Comedy Central are paying attention if the host of "Arsenio" is actually looking for a change of scenery. Since returning to late night television last year, Hall has regularly matched ratings with his peers -- a stellar lineup that includes Conan O'Brien, Chelsea Handler and Craig Ferguson -- and even managed to best ratings powerhouse Jimmy Kimmel last month when Prince appeared on "The Arsenio Hall Show." He may not be known for satire, but that doesn't mean Hall couldn't bring something substantial to Comedy Central's late-night lineup.
UPDATE: Hall address the matter on his show last night as well.
Possible Stephen Colbert Replacement #7 - Lewis Black
In many ways, Lewis Black seems like the natural pick to replace Colbert, but we're also well aware that his particularly abrasive style of comedy isn't quite as appealing to a national audience as the sort of satire that Stewart and Colbert are known for. It's also hard to ignore the fact that his previous attempts at hosting haven't exactly done gangbusters for the network.
He may be the least likely of the bunch, but the idea of leaving Lewis Black off this list felt something akin to criminal. He may live in a state of constant anger, but who could argue the man's intensity would set him apart from the competition?
Who/What person or show do you think should replace "The Colbert Report" when host Stephen Colbert inherits the "Late Show" desk next year? Can't believe we left somebody off this lift?
Leave your thoughts in the comments section!