NEW YORK -- Stephen Colbert is replacing David Letterman as CBS' late night host.
CBS announced Thursday that "The Colbert Report" host will replace Letterman when he retires next year. Colbert is signed for five years.
Letterman has hosted "Late Show With David Letterman" since 1993. He turns 67 Saturday.
"I never dreamed that I would follow in his footsteps, though everyone in late night follows Dave's lead," Colbert said in a statement.
Comedy Central's Emmy-winning "The Colbert Report" has been a hit since its launch in 2005.
Last week, Letterman announced his plans to exit his show and end an unmatched wee-hours run that began in 1992 when he launched "Late Night" on NBC. He jumped to CBS when Jay Leno, not he, won NBC's "The Tonight Show" upon Johnny Carson's retirement. Leno stepped down from "Tonight" in February, replaced by Jimmy Fallon.
The new late night faceoff at 11:35 p.m. will consist of Fallon, CBS' Colbert and ABC's Jimmy Kimmel.