Stephen Colbert had a rough start out of the gate when he took over The Late Show. Ratings started strong but quickly tumbled and it took the former Comedy Central funnyman some time to figure out what direction he wanted to take the show in and which guests fit the bill the best. He also had a lot on his plate and was running a good portion of the CBS series' behind-the-scenes workload, as well. A lot of this led to criticism from some fans and media outlets and recently Stephen Colbert explained exactly how it has felt to deal with criticism related to The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.
I'm a human being. Yeah, I care. If there's something informative, if there's some criticism that would be helpful, I'm happy to listen to it. But you know, you are the show, and so you can't not take it personally. And the only difficult thing really is I like what we do, and so I don't entirely know how to feel about negative criticism.
Of course, nobody likes hearing that what they are doing in their career isn't 100% working, and Stephen Colbert has had to deal with tougher criticism than most simply because he is working in a very public field and sees millions of viewers tune in every night. It doesn't help that Colbert took over for David Letterman, which is a tough guy to take over for not only because he was a well-liked institution but also because Letterman was never the biggest ratings bringer, either. Colbert tells THR that it's hard to know how to feel about the negative criticism, but CBS certainly hasn't been taking it laying down.
In fact, over the last few months, CBS' Les Moonves has met with Stephen Colbert to talk about how The Late Show with Stephen Colbert needs to be reworked for its second season on the air. Reports have indicated that the network has asked Colbert to take a step back and spend more time focusing on the big picture rather than minute details like script approval. And CBS also hired a new showrunner, Chris Licht, a couple of months ago to take some of the load off of Stephen Colbert's plate and give him time to focus on making The Late Show better.
Stephen Colbert also admits that early on his new CBS gig wasn't the best experience he has ever had in the world of entertainment.
I didn't really have much fun in the late fall.... I went, 'OK, well, I like what I do, but I think that the pace of it might kill me unless I can find a way to regulate the way I'm throwing myself at it.'
Still, by September Stephen Colbert will have a year of work under his belt. And in that year, he has proven he has excellent interviewing skills. Occasionally the magic has even come together into a perfect episode and even the show's ratings have stopped falling. I'm coming from a bit of a personal bias as I've always enjoyed watching Stephen Colbert--even during The Late Show's less-than-perfect moments--but it looks as if CBS is still in Stephen Colbert's corner, and hopefully eventually even the naysayers will be too.
New episodes of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert air weeknights at 11:35 p.m. ET on CBS. In addition, you can find out what is returning this fall, here.