Stephen Colbert will succeed David Letterman on "The Late Show," CBS and Colbert confirmed on Thursday.

"I won't be doing the new show in character, so we'll all get to find out how much of him was me. I'm looking forward to it," Colbert said in a statement.

The new host's exact premiere date will be determined when Letterman sets a departure date. Colbert will have a five-year contract.

"Stephen Colbert is one of the most inventive and respected forces on television," said CBS president Les Moonves in a statement.

CBS said in a statement that the creative elements, the producers and the location would all be determined at a later date.

Letterman, once considered the obvious successor to Johnny Carson, announced his retirement two weeks ago, just months after Jimmy Fallon took over at "The Tonight Show." He'll also face competition from Jimmy Kimmel.

Colbert, for his part, said he is "thrilled and grateful" for the opportunity, and said that "simply being a guest" on Letterman's show had been a "highlight of my career." "Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go grind a gap in my front teeth."