Chris Licht Named ‘Late Show With Stephen Colbert’ Showrunner

Chris Licht, who has worked in morning TV for a decade, most recently leading CBS News’ This Morning broadcast, has been named executive producer/showrunner of Stephen Colbert-hosted The Late Show. The switch is being made eight months into the late-night show’s tenure; Licht will oversee all aspects of production on the 11:35 PM series.

Licht, who, before joining CBS News co-created and was first EP of MSNBC’s Morning Joe, has served as EP of CBS’ morning news show, and VP Programming for CBS News, since 2011. In addition to being the showrunner for The Late Show, CBS also named Licht new EVP of Special Programming at CBS Corp., consulting on various forms of content for divisions across the company.

Ryan Kadro is taking over as EP of CBS This Morning. Kadro has been with the program since its development in 2011 and launch in 2012 and currently serves as co-EP. He takes full responsibility for the broadcast on Monday, April 18, reporting to CBS News president David Rhodes.

In a statement, Colbert said he’s “thrilled Chris is joining us at The Late Show.”

“I am so impressed by what he has done at CBS This Morning,” said the former The Daily Show star, who’d brought his team with him to CBS.  “And I trust someone has told him he doesn’t have to get up at 4 AM anymore.”

New-ish CBS Entertainment president Glenn Geller explained the move: “Chris’s vision and track record of leading signature shows in important dayparts is a great next step to build on this terrific foundation.”

Of Colbert, Geller said: “In a very short time, Stephen’s comedic talents and interview skills have formed an exciting new franchise for CBS in late night.”

Added CBS Television Studios president David Stapf: “Everyone in the company has admired what Chris has done for CBS in the morning.  The opportunity to bring him to The Late Show is like adding an outstanding head coach to a great team.”


For his part, Licht said this morning, “You can’t work in this business without being in awe of Stephen Colbert and his talents. The chance to work with Stephen and help build a valuable late night franchise, while continuing to grow at CBS, is truly an honor. I can’t wait to get started.”

Under Licht’s direction, CBS This Morning has delivered the network’s largest overall audience in the time period in nearly three decades, though it still trails its competitors.

Previously, Licht was the co-creator and the original EP of MSNBC’s Morning Joe and, before that, he was a senior producer and then executive producer of Joe Scarborough’s Scarborough Country, also on MSNBC.  He began his career at KNBC in Los Angeles, working at various levels of the electronic news business, including producing the station’s late night newscast.

Colbert’s show now lists Colbert and Licht as EPs, along with Tom Purcell, Meredith Bennett and Jon Stewart.

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