A few weeks into the Chris Licht era as showrunner of “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” the CBS program has shown some positive ratings signs.
NBC’s “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” is in no immediate danger of losing its status as the top-rated late-night program, but the Eye’s 11:35 p.m. entry has strung together three straight second-place demo finishes for the first time this year. And last week, with guests including Bill O’Reilly, Rob Reiner and Judge Judy Sheindlin, “Late Show” posted its most competitive demo finish relative to Fallon since last October while also drawing its largest weekly audience in nearly three months.
Colbert has seemed at times to not understand that he isn’t on Comedy Central anymore. The pace needs to be quicker and the guests higher profile if you’re going to pull in the fragmented network late-night audience. Licht gets that:
CBS last month tapped Licht, a former CBS News vice president who has been executive producer of the network’s rising “CBS This Morning,” as showrunner of “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.” The network knows it will take time to alter the late-night ratings landscape, but is hoping some changes, including a tighter opening and a greater emphasis on newsmaker interviews can make “Late Show” more relevant in the months leading up to the presidential election.
Nobody wants to see the Secretary of Energy babble on about things when they’re trying to wind down at the end of the evening. As mentioned here the other day, entertainment that leads with ideology isn’t a big seller.
It makes sense to get guests who get ratings elsewhere, so “The Late Show” fans should be seeing more Judge Judy types and fewer whoever the heck the secretary of Energy is types.