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Jon Batiste Leaving The Late Show After 7 Years as Bandleader

Longtime bandmember Louis Cato will replace Batiste.
  • The Late Show bandleader Jon Batiste (Photo: CBS)
    The Late Show bandleader Jon Batiste (Photo: CBS)

    It's the end of an era for The Late Show With Stephen Colbert. On Thursday night, Colbert announced longtime bandleader Jon Batiste is departing the late night show after seven seasons to focus on his music career.

    "We've been so lucky to have a front row seat to Jon's incredible talent for the past seven years," Colbert said at the top of Thursday's show. "And will we miss him here? 'Yeaaa!' But we're happy for you, Jon, and I can’t wait to have you back on as guest with your next hit record."

    Batiste has been the Stay Human bandleader since 2015, when Colbert made the jump to CBS. In recent years, he expanded beyond the late night show and co-composed the score for Pixar's Soul, for which he won an Oscar, and released two popular albums. Batiste's most recent release, "We Are" (2021), earned five Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year.

    Due to his surge in popularity and busy tour schedule, Batiste has been absent from The Late Show for most of the summer, with Louis Cato filling in as bandleader. Cato will take over on a permanent basis when the show begins its eighth season in September.

    With Cato at the helm, Stay Human will be renamed The Late Show Band. He will be joined by longtime band veterans Joe Saylor, Louis Fouché, Jon Lampley, Endea Owens, and Nêgah Santo.

    "Louis has done a great job this summer, and he is very humble, so he won't say this," said Colbert of his new bandleader. "But I will: he's a musical genius. He can play basically every instrument over there. Give him an afternoon, he'll learn how to play Mozart on a shoehorn."

    The Late Show With Stephen Colbert airs weeknights at 11:35 PM ET on CBS.

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    Claire Spellberg Lustig is the Senior Editor at Primetimer and a scholar of The View. Follow her on Twitter at @c_spellberg.

    TOPICS: Jon Batiste, CBS, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Louis Cato, Late Night