Jon Batiste leaving Late Show with Stephen Colbert as bandleader

Last night, a major change was confirmed on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert — Jon Batiste is gone as bandleader.

We can’t exactly call this a surprise for a number of reasons. Over the past couple of years, Batiste’s star has grown astronomically thanks to a lot of the composing work he has done away from the show. It makes some sense for him to focus more on that and his personal life, and he’s been gone from the show for most of the summer anyway. This is something that Colbert addressed directly during the show last night:

“Sharp-eyed viewers may have noticed that Jon hasn’t been here this summer. Well, I have an update — Jon has decided to leave the show, but it’s for all the best reasons, including to continue to share his art with the world. We wanted to give him a big, in-person sendoff, but Jon’s not in town. I hope he’s cutting his new album, and I hope it’s called More Grammys Please.

“We’ve been so lucky to have a front row seat to Jon’s incredible talent for the past seven year … will we miss him here? ‘Yeah!’ But we’re happy for you, Jon, and I can’t wait to have you back on as guest with your next hit record.”

In Jon’s place, Louis Cato of Stay Human (who has been the interim bandleader all summer) will become the permanent bandleader when The Late Show returns for its new season in September — and with a new title for the group in The Late Show band!

As many of you who are long-time late-night TV viewers know, bands are pretty much a staple of this sort of programming. They give energy and at times unpredictability to a show, and bandleaders serve as a great ally for the host on stage. The Late Show in particular has a great history with Batiste and Paul Shaffer holding the title over the years.

Are you bummed that Jon Batiste is leaving The Late Show with Stephen Colbert?

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