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"The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" brings the former host of the Comedy Channel's, "The Colbert Report" to mainstream network TV. Colbert had been hosting his own late night talks show as a conservative Republican character which did not project his own political views. However, "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" allows the host to step outside the confines of his character and bring his own views to the show.
The version of "The Late Show" franchise starring Colbert is the second late-night talk show broadcast by the CBS network after the show was originally aired with David Letterman taking the hosting duties. Each episode follows a familiar format but jettisoned the usual segments used by Letterman such as his famous "top ten lists."
Since the start of the hosting duties of Colbert, "The Late Show" has used a number of different opening formats including the original monologue the comedian used for the first few months. The monologue would often take place before the titles of the show were broadcast and would see Colbert give his satirical view on the news of the day.
After a short time, the show took a different direction with Stephen Colbert and his staff of writers appearing in sketches at the start of the show alongside the main guests appearing later. "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" would keep this format for a number of episodes before reverting to a more topical new style desk segment where the host would lampoon the main news stories of the day. Later, Colbert would return to the monologue style and shift the news desk elements to later in the show. Since the 2016 election of President Donald Trump in the U.S., many of the monologues of Colbert are directed directly at the President who has often responded to the comedian on the Twitter social media platform.
Following the opening monologue and news segment, Stephen Colbert conducts various celebrity interviews with some of the biggest stars on TV, Film, and music. The show has also seen guests from the world of politics enter the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York to raise their profile with a younger audience. Following the election of President Trump, Stephen Colbert began to show his opposition to the Trump Administration and saw his ratings rise as the show became more political than it had in the past.
Born in Washington D.C. and grew up in Charleston, South Carolina, Stephen Colbert began his performance career while studying at Northwestern University. The early years of Colbert were spent working theater and improvisational comedy groups including comedians Steve Carrell and Amy Sedaris. The comedian worked alongside Sedaris and actor Paul Dinello on the comedy show, "Strangers with Candy" before he was given writing and performing the role on "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart." It was during his time on "The Daily Show" that Colbert found fame with his Republican stereotype character based around the extremes of his own personality. Eventually, "The Colbert Report" was commissioned on the Comedy Channel and allowed the comedian to work within the confines of his character from "The Daily Show." After being appointed the host of "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert," the comedian officially retired the character he had performed as in favor of appearing as himself.
The director and creative head of "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" is Jim Hoskinson who was originally paired with the comedian to create his "The Colbert Report." Hoskinson had appeared as a director for MSNBC and Fox News which allowed him to give "The Colbert Report" the visual look and pace of a cable news network broadcast.
The decision to retire of David Letterman in 2015 prompted a bidding war from cities around the U.S. for the show with New Orleans and Los Angeles attempting to gain the right to produce the show. Upon announcing Stephen Colbert as the successor to Letterman, CBS announced "The Late Show" franchise would remain at its home in the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York. "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" is filmed each weekday in front of a live studio audience to ensure the jokes remain topical and up to date with breaking news.
The show has gained positive reviews and has built a strong fanbase which has grown as Stephen Colbert took a more political stance on the events of the day. The late-night talk show wars of the past may not be as popular as they were, but Stephen Colbert is located in a rating battle with fellow late-night host, Jimmy Fallon. Colbert usually beats out his other late-night rival Jimmy Kimmel but Fallon's use of social media is thought to add to the number of viewers his show attracts each night.
"The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" receives an average of around eight million viewers per night with his highest rated show reaching around 20 million viewers following the live broadcast of "Super Bowl 50." Colbert's stance against the Administration of President Trump has seen him win plaudits and criticism from those on the different sides of the political spectrum. The use of Twitter to condemn Colbert by the President led to "The Late Show" jumping back to the top of the late-night ratings in 2017.
Different networks around the world have picked up "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" and air it on the same day or in the following days to its broadcast in the U.S. In Canada, "The Late Show" is broadcast on Global as a simulcast with CBS. The show is also broadcast by networks in India, Australia, and Portugal.
Stephen Colbert began his comedy career in Chicago as a member of the improv group, The Second City. Colbert has explained the main star of the group was Steve Carrell who he understudied early in his career. The voice used by Stephen Colbert is not his own as he was worried his South Carlina accent would hold him back as he pursued acting. In a bid to make himself more marketable, Colbert copied the tone and style of talking used by news anchors in the U.S.