Why Chris Licht Recused Himself From Late Show Coverage of Charlie Rose’s Firing

By Chris Ariens Comment

Former CBS This Morning and Morning Joe EP Chris Licht is about to to take the wraps off his latest project with Stephen Colbert: a 10-episode animated comedy about President Trump that premieres Feb. 11 on Showtime.

After a career in TV news–local, cable and broadcast–Licht was named EP of Colbert’s Late Show in 2016. In the two years since, the show has become No. 1 in late night, with a million-viewer lead on NBC’s Tonight Show.

Licht told Adweek he doesn’t miss working in news, because, he’s never far from it. “I’m still so involved in just what’s happening in the world,” he said. “I miss the people for sure. It was an incredible team. I don’t miss getting up [early] and I don’t miss the control room. Being on the stage with Stephen is a whole different experience that I’ve really come to really like. I love watching [CBS This Morning], and I feel a certain amount of pride every time I watch it, because I know I helped build it.”

As for how he covered Charlie Rose‘s firing in November, Licht said the network didn’t mandate anything. Still, he chose to stay out of it.

“I recused myself from any discussion about it. Not because I didn’t think I could be impartial about it—and no one told me, ‘Recuse yourself’ — but I didn’t want anyone on the staff to feel, ‘if I pitch a joke, what is Chris going to do?’ I had no idea what we were doing on it; I completely removed myself to take that out of the equation. If there were jokes, we should do jokes, and it shouldn’t be tempered by the fact that I used to work with him or that he’s a CBS star.”

Adweek has more about the show and about plans for a live State of the Union edition of The Late Show.