Late Show with Stephen Colbert

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Late Show with Stephen Colbert
Also known as Late Show (franchise brand)
Starring Stephen Colbert
Country of origin United States
Executive producer(s) Stephen Colbert
Location(s) Ed Sullivan Theater
New York, New York
Running time 62 min. (with commercials)
Production company(s) CBS
Original channel CBS
Picture format 1080i (16:9 HDTV)
Original airing September 8, 2015
Preceded by Late Show with David Letterman
Related shows The Colbert Report

Late Show with Stephen Colbert is an upcoming American late-night talk show hosted by Stephen Colbert on CBS. It will be the second iteration of the Late Show franchise, following the retirement of current Late Show host David Letterman.[1][2]

Late Show with Stephen Colbert is scheduled to premiere on September 8, 2015.[3] Colbert had previously hosted The Colbert Report, another late night series on Comedy Central.


CBS had previously attempted late-night talk shows with The Merv Griffin Show (1969–1972) and The Pat Sajak Show (1989–1990) but were unable to compete with NBC's The Tonight Show and these attempts were cancelled due to poor ratings. For most of the 20 years preceding Late Show, CBS's late night fare consisted of movies, re-runs and specialty programming packaged under the titles CBS Late Night and Crimetime After Primetime and broadcast to middling ratings. When David Letterman became available after being passed over by NBC for the Tonight Show, CBS was eager to lure him and offered him a three-year, $14 million per year contract,[4] doubling his Late Night salary.

In ratings, Letterman's Late Show topped Leno's Tonight Show for its first two years. Leno pulled ahead on July 10, 1995, starting with a Hugh Grant interview, after Grant's much-publicized arrest for picking up an LA prostitute.[5] Leno also benefited from the lead-in provided by NBC's popular Must See TV prime time programs of the mid-to-late 1990s. Likewise the CBS network was hurt by affiliation switches in late 1994 relating to Fox picking up CBS's National Football League rights, stunting the Late Show just as it was beginning to gain traction. In February 2013, TV by the Numbers reported Late Show averaged about 3.1 million per show in season-to-date live-plus-seven-day ratings.[6] A year later, average viewership was down to 2.8 million.[7] Late Show also had the oldest audience among the various late night talk shows, which may have led to CBS's decision to pick a younger replacement to compete with The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel Live!.[7]

Stephen Colbert hosted his satirical news show on Comedy Central from October 2005 to December 2014, which has been the recipient of four Emmy Awards.

On April 3, 2014, Letterman announced his retirement on an unspecified date in 2015. Stephen Colbert will succeed Letterman as host on September 8, 2015, agreeing to a five-year contract. In contrast with Colbert's previous program The Colbert Report, in which he played a fictional character also named Stephen Colbert, Colbert will host the show (which will retain the Late Show branding) as himself.[8] On April 23, 2014, the character version of Stephen Colbert appeared on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart to announce that he has clearly "won television" and will be ending The Colbert Report because he has met his goal. This came after the announcement he will not be using the character when he replaces Letterman after The Colbert Report ends.[9]

Several municipalities attempted to lure CBS into moving production of the program from its long-time home in New York City with tax credits and other incentives, including Los Angeles, New Orleans, and Connecticut.[10] On July 23, 2014, CBS announced that Late Show will continue to be produced at the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York when Colbert takes over.[11] Colbert will also be bringing most of his staff from The Colbert Report with him to the Late Show.[12]


Colbert will be given near-full control of the show, with little interference from CBS management in regard to format.[12] In a statement released by CBS Entertainment President Nina Tassler to reporters, it was reported that Colbert was "still very busy – he's got his show on Comedy Central. We've had very early conversations regarding format. He's retiring his character on Comedy Central. He does want an interview format. Will he have a band, will he not have a band? He's thinking about a lot of these things now."[13] As of January 2015, the situation had not progressed significantly; Colbert has confirmed a talk show format with the usual celebrity guests and live music but had not decided if he wanted a traditional opening monologue.[12]


  1. ^ "Stephen Colbert Named New ‘Late Show’ Host". April 10, 2014. Retrieved April 10, 2014. 
  2. ^ CCarter, Bill (April 3, 2014). "David Letterman to Retire in 2015". The New York Times. Retrieved April 3, 2014. 
  3. ^ "'Late Show with Stephen Colbert' Premieres on Tuesday September 8th". Splitsider. January 12, 2015. Retrieved January 12, 2015. 
  4. ^ Harris, Mark (January 29, 1993). "Is Dave Worth It?". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved December 7, 2011. 
  5. ^ Finn, Natalie (May 24, 2007). "Tonight Show Turns 15". E! News. Retrieved August 28, 2007. 
  6. ^ "Late Night TV Ratings For February 4–8, 2013". February 14, 2013. Retrieved 2013-09-14. Season-to-date figures are averages of “live plus seven day” data except for the two most recent weeks, which are “live plus same day.”)... SEASON TO DATE/TOTAL VIEWERS...11:35 p.m.-12:35 a.m. ET: NBC “Tonight,” 3.6 million viewers, CBS “Late Show,” 3.1 million viewers, ABC “Kimmel,” 2.8 million viewers** 
  7. ^ a b Poggi, Jeanine (February 13, 2014). "Why Jimmy Fallon's 'Tonight Show' Can Thrive With Fewer Viewers When Conan's Couldn't". Advertising Age. Retrieved February 14, 2014. 
  8. ^ Pergament, Alan (April 10, 2014). "Choice of Colbert to succeed Letterman makes perfect sense". The Buffalo News. Retrieved April 10, 2014. 
  9. ^ Zuckerman, Esther (April 10, 2014). "Stephen Colbert Will Take Over for David Letterman". The Wire. Retrieved July 23, 2014. 
  10. ^ Hutchins, Ryan (April 11, 2014). "The battle for Colbert's 'Late Show'". Capital New York. Retrieved April 13, 2014. 
  11. ^ "Stephen Colbert's 'Late Show' to Stay at Ed Sullivan Theatre". The Hollywood Reporter. July 23, 2014. Retrieved July 24, 2014. 
  12. ^ a b c Weprin, Alex (January 12, 2015). "Stephen Colbert’s ‘Late Show’ will debut Sept. 8". Capital New York. Retrieved January 12, 2015. 
  13. ^ Bentley, Jean (July 17, 2014). "Stephen Colbert, CBS planning new 'Late Show'". Zap2It. Retrieved July 23, 2014.