NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/WCCO) – The new face of late night is … Stephen Colbert.

The CBS Television Network announced Thursday that Stephen Colbert, the host, writer and executive producer of “The Colbert Report,” will succeed David Letterman as the host of “The Late Show.”

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Colbert will take over for Letterman when he retires from the broadcast, after 21 years, in 2015.

“Stephen Colbert is one of the most inventive and respected forces on television,” said Les Moonves, President and CEO, CBS Corporation. “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.”

“We welcome Stephen to CBS with great pride and excitement, and look forward to introducing him to our network television viewers in late night,” said Nina Tassler, Chairman of CBS Entertainment.

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

Star Tribune TV critic Neal Justin thinks Colbert’s move to CBS may strike a local chord.

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“Smart comedy does very well in Minnesota, and he definitely is very smart,” Justin said. “There’s not a lot of juvenile pranks with him, you really have to think to get a lot of his humor. That’s why I think he’ll do very well here.”

His smart reputation comes from his political style. On his current show, Colbert plays the character of a right-wing pundit, who he described on 60 Minutes as a “well intentioned, poorly informed, high-status idiot.”

Justin says Colbert will be playing it straight on the “Late Show.”

“What we do know is he’s not going to be playing that buffoonish character he’s been playing. He’s going to be much more of who he is, and people in the industry seem to believe he’s a very, very nice guy and very quick,” he said.

It seems Colbert won’t just be making a debut, he’ll be making a reveal.

Neal Justin says he expects Colbert’s Late Show to be interview oriented and less about skits. We don’t know exactly when Colbert will take over, but it will be sometime in 2015.

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The Late Show airs weeknights at 10:35 p.m. on WCCO-TV.

Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield