CBS is giving Stephen Colbert a long time to get his version of “Late Show” on its feet, announcing that “Late Show with Stephen Colbert” won't debut until Tuesday, September 8 – almost nine months from now and nearly four months after David Letterman's final telecast.
“I have nine months to make a show, just like a baby,” Colbert said in the press release. “So first, I should find out how you make a baby.”
Rather than run guest hosts in between – as CBS has done in the past and present during “Late Late Show” host transitions – CBS will simply air repeats of primetime shows at 11:35.
The question remains what exactly his “Late Show” will look like – and, for that matter, how his comedy will work now that he's retired “Stephen Colbert,” the character he played for so long on “The Colbert Report.” It's understandable that Colbert wants to move beyond that character and show more of his own personality, but format-wise, will he just be doing a rehash of the same show Dave, Jimmy, Jimmy, Seth, Jay, Johnny, etc. have been doing for the last 50 years?
Colbert wasn't at CBS' press tour day, so it fell to CBS president Nina Tassler to reveal what little they know at this point about what Colbert's “Late Show” will look like.
“This is really an additive process,” she said. “He's brought almost his whole creative team from 'The Colbert Report' with him. He will have music on the show. He's said, repeatedly, that 'I have to be as entertaining as my guests,' so he will certainly have guests on his show. Whether he's going to start with a monologue, he's working on that right now. But clearly, he knows that he is introducing himself – the real Stephen Colbert – to this audience. And he's really putting a lot of attention into making sure the show is still topical, is still relevant, is still dealing with current events.”
But if Colbert decides in the next few months that the format is played out, will Tassler and the other CBS executives be willing to let him reinvent the wheel?
“Part of the opportunity of being in business with brilliant talent like Stephen Colbert is really letting him do what he wants to do,” she insisted. “We're really sitting back and waiting for him to come to us and say what he has in mind. He's a real student of media. He knows the format better than anybody. It's really a discovery process for him. It's still in development. I think there'll be parts that will be traditional in some contexts, and then there will be things he's going to want to try to do.”