"Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go grind a gap in my front teeth," the Comedy Central star jokes
Credit: Jim Spellman/Wireimage; Jeffrey R. Staab/CBS

Get ready for the late show with Stephen Colbert.

The star of The Colbert Report will replace David Letterman as host of the Late Show, CBS announced Thursday.

“Simply being a guest on David Letterman’s show has been a highlight of my career. I never dreamed that I would follow in his footsteps, though everyone in late night follows Dave’s lead,” Colbert, 49, says in a statement. “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.”

Colbert has led Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report since 2005, winning over audiences with his satirical conservative persona and scathing critiques of the news.

Last week, Letterman, 66, announced he’s retiring after more than three decades on the air. Colbert has signed a five-year agreement with CBS and will take over the Late Show once Letterman finalizes his exit.

Comedy Central executives says The Colbert Show will end its run in eight months.

“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, referring to Colbert’s time as a Daily Show correspondent before launching his titular spin-off. “We look forward to the next eight months of the ground-breaking Colbert Report and wish Stephen the very best.”

It’s unclear whether Colbert will stay in character as his staunchly Republican alter ego when he moves to CBS. Nevertheless, his jokes should still land: Sources tell the Hollywood Reporter Colbert will bring his writing staff along to the Late Show.