In an early taste of the kind of rampant speculation we have to look forward to over the next few weeks and months, Stephen Colbert has been cited as the frontrunner to replace David Letterman upon his retirement—an event that is, despite all the circling vultures, still a year away. Former Deadline editor, now rogue awful person Nikki Finke was the first to tweet the rumor yesterday, mere hours after the story first broke, though she hedged her bets by phrasing it as a question.
Letterman's 2015 retirement: My sources have said first in line to replace him is Stephen Colbert. Will it happen?
— Nikki Finke (@NikkiFinke) April 3, 2014
Today, a new report at Mashable avers much more confidently that Colbert is CBS’s “top choice” for the Late Show, saying that—though the network has talked to others, including Jon Stewart—Colbert is currently the “front-and-center candidate.” What’s more, according to unnamed sources from both the CBS and Colbert camp, Colbert is willing to take the job, which would see him leaving behind his right-wing “Stephen Colbert” character and stepping into a role where any perceived offensiveness can no longer be couched in satire.
Obviously, neither CBS nor Comedy Central would comment on the report, and even Mashable also hedges its bets by pointing out that this is all still very early in the conversation. Still, no reason not to have that conversation all day, every day, and on into the weekend.
For whatever it’s worth, Entertainment Weekly reports that online sports oddsmakers Bovada also favor Stephen Colbert to take over, at the odds of 3/1. So, something to keep in mind in your bizarre gambling on the succession of a late-night talk show, along with the fact that you might have a problem.