Stephen Colbert hasn’t had a great first year after taking over from David Letterman as host of The Late Show. Ratings for the series have not been what CBS had hoped (on many weeks, he’s fallen into third place among the 18-49 demo after both The Tonight Show and Jimmy Kimmel), he’s had to install a showrunner to help turn things around, and his longtime producer Meredith Bennett was pushed out back in May.
If that’s not bad enough, Colbert has also been dogged with rumors over the last two months that host of The Late Late Show James Corden — who hit one billion YouTube views back in April — could be installed as host of Colbert’s show, while Colbert could get demoted to the 12:30 hour. That’s not going to happen, at least not anytime soon, president of CBS Entertainment Glen Geller told the Hollywood Reporter this week.
“We have no plans to flip the two shows. It’s really easy for people to pit the shows against each other. But they’re different kinds of shows, they’re different kinds of hosts. One was a known quantity to America, and the other was not. I don’t think it’s fair to compare the two and say, ‘Well, just because one show has this, why doesn’t the other?’ “
It doesn’t mean, however, that rumors haven’t affected Colbert himself, who admitted to THR he’s bothered by the suggestion. “The implication of that question is that the show isn’t good enough in its present position. So of course that makes you feel bad. But it doesn’t jibe with what I know about our show, so you recover.”
That said, Geller does concede that the show has been “uneven,” but says that it’s still in its early days. (Colbert hasn’t even been on for a year.)
However, Colbert is showing signs of life in recent weeks. After wearing his new personae as conventional late-night host for nine months, Colbert has started to bring back what made him so popular as host of Comedy Central’s Colbert Report. After lazily humoring Donald Trump when he appeared on the show last September, Colbert has started to bare his teeth again. Last month, he generated one of his biggest viral hits so far after he diagrammed a swastika in trying to explain Trump’s post-Orlando tweets. The video has since been seen on YouTube more than seven million times. He also took Senate Republicans to task for failing to move on gun legislation.
This week, at the RNC convention, Colbert is practically his old self again. He brought back The Colbert Report‘s “The Word” to mock Donald Trump, he had Jon Stewart on the show (to mock Donald Trump), and he even crashed the RNC stage, getting booted off by security, but not before mocking Donald Trump.
It’s working, too, at least for now. He’s getting positive coverage on the internet, and on Monday, he won his time slot, besting Jimmy Fallon in overall viewers. Earlier this month, he also moved back ahead of Jimmy Kimmel, in both overall viewers and in the 18-49 demo.