The Late Show with Stephen Colbert
Stephen Colbert is the host of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, American late-night news and political satire talk show, which debuted on September 8, 2015.
It is the second installment of CBS’ Late Show franchise, which is produced by Spartina Productions and CBS Studios. The show, like its rivals Jimmy Kimmel, Live! and The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, is recorded in the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York City and broadcasts live to tape in the majority of U.S. cities on weeknights at 11:35 p.m. ET/PT.
After current presenter David Letterman revealed his plan to leave earlier in the month, Colbert was named the new host in April 2014. Colbert had previously presented Comedy Central’s news satire The Colbert Report, where he depicted himself as a parody of conservative pundits.
As a result, the series has placed a greater emphasis on addressing and parodying current events, particularly those related to American politics. Jon Stewart, who formerly helmed The Colbert Report’s parent series The Daily Show, joined as an executive producer on The Late Show along with others of Colbert’s employees.
The Late Show with Stephen Colbert has been the #1 late-night show in the US for the last four seasons as of the end of the 2019–2020 season. It has surpassed The Tonight Show in key demographic viewership since 2019.
Prior to the opening sequence, Colbert used a cold open and a brief monologue to introduce the show. The format was changed to replace the cold open monologue with brief skits starring Colbert, his staff, and frequently that night’s guests, followed by the opening sequence and Colbert approaching the stage, beginning with the April 18, 2016, broadcast, the first under new showrunner Chris Licht.
Colbert provided his own voiceovers for the intro for the first few weeks of the program. Jen Spyra is currently voicing the introduction.
An extended news parody desk sequence with a run-through of the most recent headlines, a la The Colbert Report and network newscasts, follows the opening.
The show also uses sketch comedy, guest interviews, and musical performances in the same general manner as other late-night talk shows. More political and government leaders have visited Colbert than any of his contemporaries during the first two weeks of his show, including Jeb Bush, Joe Biden, Ban Ki-moon, Stephen Breyer, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Donald Trump, and Ted Cruz.
Thus far, Colbert has not had any of his staff act as a sidekick or straight man on the show. While Colbert dances and physically interacts with Jon Batiste while the band plays, they only occasionally engage in on-air banter, unlike David Letterman’s relationship with Paul Shaffer or the relationship of other late-night hosts with their announcers or bandleaders.
After the first few episodes in which Colbert introduced himself, he has used an off-screen announcer – writer Jen Spyra. Occasionally, Colbert has brought out producers of his show, or enlisted the help of audience members, who assume a sidekick-like role for single segments, engaging in light dialogue about a topic.
The show has occasionally been broadcast live to provide coverage of the immediate aftermath of major political events, such as candidate debates and party conventions during election years, the State of the Union address, in the 2018 mid-term elections and the 2020 US presidential election.