“The Circus has way more impact than I expected,” Showtime chief David Nevins said this afternoon at TCA of his election-cycle docu-series, by way of explaining his Colbert News. “That’s that’s what made me first start thinking about” election night coverage, “and who was the talent to do that. Colbert was the obvious one,” he said, noting Colbert’s buzzy live DNC and RNC broadcasts.
Nevins forgot to mention that Colbert already owned election-cycle skewering, sharing with Jon Stewart (who is now an EP on Colbert’s CBS show) in their capacity as former hosts/creators of Comedy Central’s groundbreaking The Daily Show and The Colbert Report.
Colbert’s The Late Show will be pre-empted that night on CBS, noted Showtime programing chief Gary Levine.
Colbert’s live Late Show broadcasts during the recent Republican and Democratic National Conventions earned stronger ratings and generated buzz for the franchise that’s struggling to goose its ratings. Those live convention shows generated Late Show’s most viral clips to date: Jon Stewart taking over the host desk, which has more than 14M YouTube views to date, and Laura Benanti’s appearance as Melania Trump defending herself against charges she plagiarized portions of her RNC speech from Michelle Obama, which has clocked more than 8M Youtube views.
One day before Nevins’ announcement, CBS announced Colbert would air three live Late Show broadcasts after upcoming presidential and vice presidential debates. Colbert’s program will air live on Monday, September 26 after the first POTUS debate, on Tuesday, October 4 after the vice presidential skirmish, and on Wednesday, October 19 after the third presidential debate.