stephen colbert
Yesterday's big news that David Letterman is retiring in 2015 has set off intense speculation about who will replace the longtime late night host.

Sources tell Mashable that Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert is CBS's top choice, he's indicated interest in taking the seat. Still, negotiations have not yet begun, and the network is still talking to other candidates, including Colbert's fellow Comedy Central host, Jon Stewart.

Colbert's contract with "The Colbert Report" runs out this year, which would be perfect timing for him to succeed Letterman.

Still, there are other names in play, with many people on Twitter calling for more diversity in the late night host lineup. Vogue magazine listed five women who could replace Letterman, including Chelsea Handler (who is leaving E! at the end of the year -- another example of good timing). They also suggested Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and Ellen DeGeneres, who's proven to be a popular daytime host.

Others wanted CBS to use this opportunity to add racial diversity, by choosing a host of color.

Late night succession has produced a lot of drama over the years, first when Jay Leno beat out Letterman to take over "The Tonight Show." In recent years, Leno's succession caused a huge stir when Conan O'Brien replaced him in 2009, then left the show to pave the way for Leno's return. This year, the transition was smoother (and less acrimonious) when Jimmy Fallon took over "The Tonight Show."

And there's potential for Letterman's succession to erupt, as well -- both Leno and O'Brien will be available in 2015. Good times.

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CATEGORIES TV