Why Stephen Colbert Is the Perfect David Letterman Replacemen

Tim Goodman, writing for The Hollywood Reporter:

NBC, take note. This is what an orderly transfer of power looks like.

If ever there was a no-brainer for such an important slot at the network -- and despite what you might think about the late night talk show environment, it’s still a marquee gig when judged from within -- then hiring Colbert was it. He has a built in following which will likely grow when he drops his faux right wing persona that was the cornerstone of his time on The Colbert Report. He is insatiable about pop culture, politics, music -- pretty much anything in the zeitgeist. And he has the ideal mind for taking in those information streams, weeding out what’s important and then commenting on them.

Later on, Goodman writes:

Yes, fans of Colbert “in character” will miss his show, but the truth is that the format, despite being an excellent vehicle that launched Colbert to stardom, was far too limiting for Colbert’s talent. He’s absolutely going to blossom with this new freedom. From his time on Strangers With Candy to The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, he’s shown his comedic talent in various forms with an improve performer’s fluidity. Those are traits that will make him instantly watchable doing his own taped (and live) skits on The Late Show, plus they will serve him well behind the desk doing interviews.

Having interviewed Colbert at length before, I can only imagine that in some ways The Colbert Report was a golden-handcuffs type situation for him. This opportunity to take over for Letterman and branch out in a new direction should truly inspire him. An inspired Colbert? Gold.

And if you have any worries that CBS will somehow “tame” Colbert, fear not. Or, put another way -- give the network more credit. It’s not going to hire him and then shackle him. That’s just bad business and CBS is already the best run broadcast network in existence -- it knows what it is doing. There’s no need to shape Colbert. There’s no need to break him in. He will not be awkward or mistake prone. He’s a pro. He’s going to invigorate CBS’s late night presence. And he’s going to validate, right out of the gate, the network’s smart and swift decision to hire him.

I could not agree more.