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Stephen Colbert To Host 'The 37th Annual Kennedy Center Honors'

NEW YORK (CBS) -- Stephen Colbert will host "The 37th Annual Kennedy Center Honors," to be broadcast Tuesday, Dec. 30 (9:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT) on CBS. Singer Al Green, actor and filmmaker Tom Hanks, ballerina Patricia McBride, singer-songwriter Sting, and comedienne Lily Tomlin are the 2014 Kennedy Center Honorees. CBS has broadcast the special each year since its debut 37 years ago.

Colbert stated, “I am stunned to be receiving a Kennedy Center Honor at such a young age. I thought it would be years before… I'm sorry. I’m being told I am HOSTING the Kennedy Center Honors. Oh... Well, I'm glad. That makes a lot more sense.”

“Stephen Colbert's creative and comedic genius is admired from Hollywood to New York to Washington, D.C.,” said Jack Sussman, Executive Vice President, Specials, Music and Live Events, CBS Entertainment. “We're thrilled to have him lend his showmanship, wit and immeasurable talents to this year's "The Kennedy Center Honors.”

""The Kennedy Center Honors” recognizes excellence on a national stage, and we are pleased that a man of Stephen’s accomplishment will host the show. He is best in class, and will no doubt undo any solemnity that might otherwise attend the occasion,” said Honors co-producer George Stevens, Jr., the recipient of 17 Emmy Awards who conceived the Honors in 1978.

PHOTOS: 2013 Kennedy Center Honors

Honors co-producer Michael Stevens, who has guided the production during its recent run of five consecutive Emmys for Outstanding Variety Special, stated: “On the one night each year when entertainment, the classical arts, and country converge, who better to preside over the proceedings than a D.C. native of renowned comedic talents whose cultural influence extends nationwide.”

As previously announced, Stephen Colbert will succeed David Letterman as host of the "Late Show" on CBS in 2015. He is best known as the host, writer and executive producer of the long-running, multiple Emmy and Peabody Award-winning series ”The Colbert Report” on Comedy Central. Mr. Colbert’s most recent appearance at the Kennedy Center Honors was during the 2011 tribute to Yo-Yo Ma.

In a star-studded celebration on the Kennedy Center Opera House stage, the 2014 Honorees will be saluted by great performers from Hollywood and the arts capitals of the world. Seated with President and Mrs. Obama, the Honorees will accept the thanks of their peers and fans through performances and heartfelt tributes.

The Honors recipients are recognized for their lifetime contributions to American culture through the performing arts – whether in dance, music, theater, opera, motion pictures or television – and are selected by the Center’s Board of Trustees. The primary criterion in the selection process is excellence. The Honors are not designated by art form or category of artistic achievement; over the years, the selection process has produced a balance among the various arts and artistic disciplines.

"The Kennedy Center Honors” is one of the most awarded programs in television history, having received the Emmy for Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Program 10 times. The Honors broadcast has also been recognized with the Peabody Award and seven awards from the Writers Guild of America. George Stevens, Jr. and his Honors producing partner Michael Stevens will again produce and write the Honors. Nick Vanoff was co-creator of the Honors with George Stevens, Jr. in 1978.

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