Stephen Colbert

(CNN) -- Stephen Colbert will succeed David Letterman as host of "The Late Show," CBS announced on Thursday, one week after Letterman told his audience that he would retire sometime in 2015.

CBS said Colbert had signed a five-year contract to helm the iconic late-night broadcast.

Colbert, 49, has been the host of Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report" since 2005.

Will Colbert remain in his Comedy Central character? Apparently not. CBS said "specific creative elements" would be determined and announced at a later date.

Colbert has been mentioned as a possible successor to Letterman for years, and his name quickly became a consensus pick after Letterman's retirement announcement on April 3. But the swiftness of the announcement was surprising.

CBS said "Colbert's premiere date as host of The Late Show will be announced after Mr. Letterman determines a timetable for his final broadcasts in 2015."

Read more at www.cnn.com

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