The Late Show With Stephen Colbert Bandleader Jon Batiste Exiting After Seven Seasons

Late night TV on CBS is about to look a little different. While the host of The Late Show With Stephen Colbert isn't going anywhere for the foreseeable future, he is about to lose his longtime bandleader. Academy and Grammy award-winning artist Jon Batiste has served as the bandleader for The Late Show for seven seasons, but he's now leaving the group and focusing on his own projects.

During Thursday's new episode of The Late Show, Colbert announced to the audience and viewers at home that Batiste was officially making his exit from the late night talk series. Batiste has been absent from the band for a bit and this announcement makes his departure more permanent. The current iteration of the band, under Batiste's leadership, was titled Stay Human. Now it will be called The Late Show Band, with interim bandleader Louis Cato taking over the role full-time. Cato's permanent stint will begin on Tuesday, September 6th, when The Late Show returns for its new season.

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

"We've been so lucky to have a front row seat to Jon's incredible talent for the past seven years," the host added. "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."

While next season will be Cato's first time actually in charge of the band, he's been there working alongside Batiste for the past seven years. Cato will be joined in The Late Show Band by Joe Saylor, Louis Fouché, Jon Lampley, Endea Owens and Nêgah Santos.

"It has been one of the great honors of my life to work on this show, alongside some of the most talented musicians and creatives I know," said Cato. "Watching and learning from both Jon and Stephen for these past seven years, I'm genuinely excited to continue the tradition of excellence they've established."

At the 2022 Grammy Awards, Batiste took home the gold for Album of the Year.