As it approaches 10 weeks in a row as the most-watched late night show the New York Times delves into what’s making CBS’s The Late Show with Stephen Colbert click with viewers.
Ironically, much of the credit goes to Donald Trump and Colbert’s anti-Trump point of view. But the changes began a year ago when Chris Licht, who had relaunched CBS’s morning show, and co-created MSNBC’s Morning Joe, was named ep of The Late Show.
“I set up a blind date, and I held my breath,” CBS chairman Les Moonves told the Times about how the pairing began.
Licht and Colbert met for a three-hour drink and hit it off instantly. To make things work, Colbert had to cede his “control freak” nature, and Licht had to refrain from debating Colbert about “what’s funny.”
“At ‘CBS This Morning,’ I said, ‘Guys, there are going to be mornings where Charlie’s tired and he doesn’t smile, and we’re going to have to live with that,’” Mr. Licht said. “‘Gayle is going to ask questions at the wrong time, and we’re going to have live with that.’”
He continued: “We’re not going to manufacture perfection. Then you build authenticity, and they become more comfortable with each other. Your job as a producer, in my mind, is to allow that to happen and get out of the way.”