NEW YORK (AP) -- For nine years on "The Colbert Report," Steven Colbert has reigned as the founding father of Colbert Nation.
He has won four Emmys, two Peabody awards and a stake in the national conversation. He hasn't just satirized politics and culture, he has rolled up his sleeves to organize a "Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear" on Washington's National Mall with his Comedy Central colleague Jon Stewart, and to create a super PAC to draw attention to the tyranny of money on elections.
And he has done it all behind a mask -- the mask of "Stephen Colbert," a pompous, clueless conservative pundit who, to his admirers, seems a funhouse version of a Fox News Channel star.
He will leave "Stephen Colbert" behind when he heads to CBS sometime in 2015, taking over for the retiring David Letterman (who has not yet specified an exit date).
In a statement, Letterman endorsed him: "I'm very excited for him, and I'm flattered that CBS chose him. I also happen to know they wanted another guy with glasses."