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1: Emmy win for outstanding variety series for Colbert Report -- which unseated decade-long champ The Daily Show in 2013

Whey he matters: When CBS Corp. CEO Leslie Moonves had to find a replacement for late-night icon David Letterman, who will retire next year after 34 years in broadcasting, there was only one person on his list. Colbert, said Moonves, is "the greatest replacement we could find" and "the only logical successor."

And so Colbert, 49, will wrap up his Comedy Central show for a lucrative five-year deal as the host of CBS' Late Show. He'll leave behind his high-wire act of a conservative persona-slash-parody but, one hopes, none of his subversive humor, as demonstrated by the #CancelColbert campaign that sprouted up after The Colbert Report tweeted one of Colbert's racist jokes out of context. Rather than apologize, he deftly parlayed the controversy into comic fodder, noting on the air, "Who would have thought a means of communication limited to 140 characters would ever create misunderstandings?"