Hoping to Deflate Stephen Colbert’s Debut Week, The Tonight Show Books Donald Trump

Appearance on Fallon slated for Sept. 11

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Stephen Colbert has been making headlines for the eclectic group of guests he's lined up for his Late Show debut next week—guests like George Clooney, Elon Musk and Uber CEO Travis Kalanick. But The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon has countered with a huge booking of its own.

Donald Trump will appear on the show next Friday, Sept. 11, the network announced today. Empire star Terrence Howard and Pharrell Williams also will be guests on the show, while Colbert's Late Show guests the same night include Amy Schumer, Stephen King and a performance by Troubled Waters.

It will be Trump's first appearance on The Tonight Show since NBC cut professional ties with the former Celebrity Apprentice host on June 29, following what the network called his "derogatory statements … regarding immigrants."

Last month, NBC Entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt told reporters that while Trump will "absolutely not" return as Celebrity Apprentice host, he hasn't been barred from appearing on the network. "I don't think somebody who is running for president and might possibly be the next leader of the free world will be completely banned from any activities at NBC," Greenblatt said.

Among The Tonight Show's other guests for Colbert's premiere week are Richard Gere and Jessica Simpson on Sept. 8, Justin Timberlake and Ellen DeGeneres on Sept. 9, and Andy Samberg and Carrie Underwood on Sept. 10.

Colbert, meanwhile, will be continuing to host a mix of celebs and more atypical late-night guests during his second week. He'll welcome Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer on Sept. 14, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Sept. 17, and Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont on Sept. 18.

The Tonight Show's booking of Trump is particularly notable considering Colbert's recent remark that his biggest wish was for Trump to still be in the presidential race when his show launches. "I want to do jokes on Donald Trump so badly, and I have no venue," Colbert said. "Right now, I'm just dry-Trumping. Every night, before I go to bed, I light a candle and pray that he stays in the race. I also pray that no one puts that candle near his hair."

@jasonlynch jason.lynch@adweek.com Jason Lynch is TV Editor at Adweek, overseeing trends, technology, personalities and programming across broadcast, cable and streaming video.