Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart left their Comedy Central posts in rapid succession, with Colbert, of course, moving to a roomier desk at CBS as the host of The Late Show. In a lead-up to Colbert's debut on September 8, the New York Times reports that Stewart, as always, has nothing but praise for his former correspondent. Stewart was scouted as a potential successor for Letterman back in 2002, but said, “I’m not suited, and he is."
They talked about their departures with one another beforehand, and Stewart encouraged Colbert to explore the possibility of stepping into Letterman's role. “I think it took him a while to figure out: Can I get excited about this? Can I bring the kind of energy and enthusiasm I’m going to need every day?" said Stewart. "Because these types of shows use every part of the host, as the ancient Americans would say.”
As for whether he'll be able to shed his persona as a right-wing blowhard, Stewart, of course, has nothing but faith. “What made that character work was the thing that Stephen had to hide, which is his humanity," he said. “Instead of throwing off the cape and revealing the monster, he reveals, actually — oh, this incredibly lovely, talented man.”
Elsewhere in the profile, CBS president Les Moonves made tone-deaf remarks: "I know people were clamoring: ‘Well, why don’t they get a woman? Why don’t they get somebody diverse?’ All of which we considered.”
Colbert, for his part, readily acknowledges this: “I look, absolutely, like I’m going to sell you insurance."