CBS Television has announced that Stephen Colbert, currently host of The Colbert Report on Comedy Central, will be the new host of The Late Show after the departure of current host David Letterman.

Colbert signed a five-year agreement to take over the show once Letterman retired, CBS announced Thursday.

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

Alfred Smith Dinner

Stephen Colbert, host of The Colbert Report, will be the new host of The Late Show on CBS. (Jason DeCrow/Associated Press)

“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.”

CBS said that the location of Colbert's Late Show has not yet been decided, along with other "specific creative elements." Both Letterman's Late Show and The Colbert Report are filmed in New York City.

Other names that circulated as possible replacements for Letterman included Neil Patrick Harris, who just ended his run on How I Met Your Mother, and comedian Chelsea Handler, whose contract with E! for her talk show Chelsea Lately ends this year.

Colbert won't host 'in-character'

Colbert has been host of The Colbert Report since 2005, almost entirely in the character of an over-the-top, U.S. right-wing political pundit. Along with Jon Stewart's The Daily Show, the two programs have been a back-to-back evening staple on Comedy Central, and The Comedy Network in Canada.

New York Times reporter Bill Carter tweeted that Colbert will not host the new show in his Colbert Report character.

"I won't be doing the new show in character, so we'll all get to find out how much of him was me. I'm looking forward to it," Colbert told the Times.

No details about the future of The Colbert Report in light of this announcement have been made as of yet.

Letterman, the host of The Late Show for the past 21 years, recently announced that he plans to retire from hosting the show in 2015.