How New “The Late Show” Host Stephen Colbert’s Net Worth Compares to David Letterman’s Net Worth

"The Late Show" host Colbert net worth vs. Letterman

On Sept. 8, Stephen Colbert will take the CBS stage of “The Late Show” for the first time, filling the seat left by 22-year veteran, David Letterman. The transition has been a lengthy one, filled with fanfare for the departure of the beloved long-time host and eager anticipation for Colbert’s debut.

Letterman announced the news of his pending retirement during a taping of “The Late Show” in April 2014. Soon after, Colbert was named his successor. At the time, Colbert had been starring in Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report” for nine years.

In preparation for his new gig, Colbert signed off from his former show in December 2014 with a star-studded goodbye. For his part, Letterman officially stepped down from his role in May, more than a year after announcing his plans to retire. The weeks leading up to his retirement were filled with A-list guests like Julia Roberts, Tina Fey, Bill Murray, Jerry Seinfeld and Alec Baldwin. Even President Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton made appearances.

Related: See How Much David Letterman’s Retirement Savings are Worth

Comedy Style of Stephen Colbert Vs. David Letterman

Letterman and Colbert are both outstanding comedians, but their styles are markedly different. The former nicknamed himself “Oscar the Grouch,” had a hard time faking interest in guests he didn’t like and wasn’t too interested in pop culture. He also sustained a 20-year rivalry with late show icon Jay Leno.

Conversely, Colbert has gained a reputation for his quirkiness — at least as Stephen Colbert, the conservative character he played on “The Colbert Report.” His true personality has yet to be revealed on air. A September GQ story revealed, however, the actor’s kind and thoughtful personality. Unlike his predecessor, Colbert told the magazine that he doesn’t view other late night hosts, such as Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel, as rivals, but instead considers them friends.

At the end of the day, Letterman is probably most well-known for his Top 10 lists, while Colbert is notorious for recurring fake-news segments. Colbert was humbled by the opportunity to fill the shoes of the man whose talk show has won a combined 16 Emmy Awards.

“I’m going to do whatever you have done,” Colbert told David Letterman during a 2014 appearance on “The Late Show,” after he was announced as the new heir to the late night throne. “It seems to have gone pretty well, Dave.”

Stephen Colbert Interview With David Letterman

Stephen Colbert Net Worth: $45 Million

Stephen Colbert’s net worth is $45 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth. He reportedly earned a $6 million salary on “The Colbert Report.” His salary for “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” has been kept under wraps, but it was revealed he signed a five-year contract.

In 2014, Colbert served as the spokesman for Wonderful Pistachios and appeared in two Super Bowl commercials. The amount he was paid for the gig is unknown, but the average cost to produce one Super Bowl commercial alone that year was $1 million.

Stephen Colbert–Jeb Bush Interview Controversy

To kick off the premiere of “The Late Show,” Jeb Bush was asked to interview with Stephen Colbert. However on Sept. 3, the presidential candidate took the opportunity to launch a campaign fundraising raffle for a VIP ticket to the show.

Colbert allegedly did not know of the raffle, saying in the following video, “No one from Jeb’s campaign asked me if this was OK with me to raise money off my first show. Where’s my cut of that sweet three bucks, Governor?” Colbert has since launched his own campaign. Learn more in the below video.

David Letterman Net Worth: $400 Million

David Letterman’s net worth is $400 million. He reportedly earned an annual salary of $20 million for “The Late Show With David Letterman,” with the ability to reach a total of $50 million per year with licensing and syndication fees. In comparison, he earned a salary of $1 million for his first television program in 1980, a daytime lineup success called “The David Letterman Show.”

His production company, Worldwide Pants, holds the rights to several shows, including the hit sitcom “Everybody Loves Raymond.” The show has been licensed multiple times, including a 2005 deal with Time Warner’s TBS that brought in approximately $250,000 per episode. The series had a total of 210 episodes. The specific amount Letterman earned from this deal and other Worldwide Pants agreements is unknown.

Letterman owns an impressive portfolio of real estate too, including a $10 million 108-acre estate in Westchester County, N.Y. He also owns Deep Creek Ranch, a 2,700-acre property in Choteau, Mont., complete with a 3,276 square foot home. Letterman also has properties in Martha’s Vineyard, Mass., and St. Bart’s Island.

Photo Credit: Helga Esteb /