Stephen Colbert's 'Late Show' Move Leaves Comedy Central Slot in Limbo

The "Colbert Report" will continue through the end of 2014, at which point the network is looking at all options -- with no talk heir apparent for the time slot.
"The Colbert Report"

Stephen Colbert might not be making the move to CBS' Late Show until sometime in 2015, after David Letterman's departure, but the Colbert Report host will end his Comedy Central tenure in eight months. The cable network confirms to The Hollywood Reporter that the 11:30 p.m. host will remain through the end of the year.

“Comedy Central is proud that the incredibly talented Stephen Colbert has been part of our family for nearly two decades," says a Comedy Central statement. "We look forward to the next eight months of the groundbreaking Colbert Report and wish Stephen the very best.”

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Colbert will take with him his writing staff. Sources tell THR that the network is looking at all options for the 11:30 p.m. half-hour after The Daily Show. And a talk show is not a sure thing. The time slot has been home to a talk format since Colbert first spun off from The Daily Show in 2005. Since 2013, the network has further expanded the talk format past 12:00 a.m. with the Chris Hardwick-hosted @midnight.

The loss of Colbert is a second blow for Comedy Central -- which said goodbye to The Daily Show's John Oliver, a pinch hitter for Jon Stewart last summer, when he inked an HBO deal in the fall. Comedy Central was very eager to keep Oliver in place, but there was no time slot to give him.

Oliver was the heir apparent, had either Stewart or Colbert departed earlier -- but with him now out of the picture, there is no obvious replacement.

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One option is Hardwick, who has had success with @Midnight. A confident Comedy Central handed out a 40-week renewal for the series in November after a brief sampling.

"We're amazed at how quickly @midnight has resonated with our fans," original programming president Kent Alterman said at the time. "If the Internet catches on and social media becomes a part of pop culture, we think we'll really have something here."