As he announced on last night's Late Show, David Letterman is retiring in 2015 which gives CBS execs just a few months to secure a replacement for the beloved host. No mean feat, given the high stakes in the late night ratings battle and giant shoes Dave's successor will need to fill.
1. Jon Stewart Image
Jon Stewart hosts The Daily Show on Comedy Central. Some believe the comedian is a contender to replace David Letterman on CBS' The Late Show.
2. Stephen Colbert Image
Stephen Colbert is host of Comedy Central's The Colbert Report. Some believe the comedian is a contender to replace David Letterman on The Late Show.
3. Jay Leno Image
Jay Leno is the former host of The Tonight Show. Some believe the comedian is a contender to replace David Letterman on CBS' The Late Show.
4. Craig Ferguson Image
Craig Ferguson hosts the Late Late Show. Some believe the comedian is a contender to replace David Letterman on CBS' The Late Show.
5. Conan O'Brien Image
Conan O'Brien is the host of his own talk show on TBS. Some believe the comedian is a contender to replace David Letterman on CBS' The Late Show.
6. Chelsea Handler Image
Chelsea Handler smiles here for the camera. Do you like her sometimes offensive humor?
7. Tina Fey Photograph
Tina Fey really might be the funniest woman alive. Don't you agree, THG readers?
9. Jerry Seinfeld and Wife
Jerry and Jessica Seinfeld are seen here at the 2010 Vanity Fair party. It's held annually, following the Academy Awards.
10. Kevin Hart Photograph
Kevin Hart was arrested for DUI in April 2013. But at least he quickly apologized soon afterward.
11. Neil Patrick Harris at the Emmys
Neil Patrick Harris was in charge of the 2013 Emmy Awards. How do you think he did as host?
12. Jimmy Kimmel Live Pic
Jimmy Kimmel is moving up to the big time. His talk show moves to 11:35 p.m. in January 2012.
So who should the network choose to fill such an important role? Well, the race is wide open with several late night hosts up for contact renewal within the next year. Check out the gallery above for some of the frontrunners.
Big names like Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert may find themselves competing with lesser-known basic cable stalwarts like Bravo's Andy Cohen.
Dark horse candidates like Chelsea Handler could bring an all new audience to the CBS late night lineup, but the network execs (typically not adventurous types) may choose to play it safe by promoting Late Late Show host Craig Ferguson.