Subscribe To Stephen Colbert Talks Candidly About The Early Struggles With His Late Night Show Updates
Starting out in late night can be a difficult adjustment for a lot of hosts. Finding ways to differentiate yourself from other late night hosts while also honing skills like interviews and monologues can be a hard task for many newbie late night hosts, and for Stephen Colbert it was no exception. At Paleyfest this year The Late Show host talked about his troubles early on and how he felt after he got to the point where things were coming up Colbert.
It wasn’t easy for Stephen Colbert when he took over The Late Show. Not only was he expected to fill a big pair of shoes, as veteran and icon David Letterman had been the previous host of the late night show on CBS for many years, he also had to do this with no experience on network television.
It took a while to gain an audience, and Stephen Colbert said his biggest worry was that people wouldn’t come back once he had figured out what the tone of his version of The Late Show would be about six months in. He said:
Running The Late Show with Stephen Colbert was a different beast than running The Colbert Report, namely because Stephen Colbert had always “done something in character” during his time on Comedy Central. At first, during his CBS gig he tried to be more buttoned up and serious and then he briefly took more of the Jimmy Fallon “let’s have fun” route before figuring out his tone. He said these days he mainly wants the people watching at home "to feel like they're not alone."
The advice worked, and Stephen Colbert went on to be competitive in the ratings. So far in 2019, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert has consistently had higher viewership than The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. Although, we’d be remiss if we didn’t point out The Tonight Show has won the ratings in the 18-49 demographic throughout 2019 so far.
Still, winning in overall viewers isn’t something to shake your head at, but it was a long hard haul for Stephen Colbert and his Late Show staff to get to that point. In fact, Colbert also admitted at Paleyfest that after he took the gig on CBS he had to figure out how to do an entirely new job than he was used to.
Alls well that ends well. Or, at least in this case, alls well that ends in beating Jimmy Kimmel Live! on ABC. The third late night show consistently gets third in the timeslot, losing in both total viewers and the 18-49 demographic, but all things considered, the numbers are still fairly close.
Be sure to catch Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Fallon or Jimmy Kimmel at 11:35 p.m. ET on weeknights.