The Late Show with Stephen Colbert will return to New York’s Ed Sullivan Theater with full-capacity, vaccinated audiences on June 14.
CBS made the announcement this morning. Colbert had been hosting remotely for more than a year due to Covid-19 safety concerns even as late-night rivals Jimmy Kimmel and Jimmy Fallon returned to their studios with limited crowds.
Last March, Colbert was the first broadcast late-night host to return to the air, delivering a monologue from his bathtub. The show has produced 205 episodes (16 of them live) both from Colbert’s home in South Carolina and from the Ed Sullivan Theater’s offices.
The theater, in the heart of the Broadway theater district, is the largest venue for any late-night show, with a seating capacity of about 450. Broadway shows have set a wide-scale return for September. Other landmarks have also begun filling up in the city, which was initially the epicenter for the coronavirus as it hit the U.S. last year. On Sunday night, Madison Square Garden hosted 15,000 fans for the New York Knicks’ playoff game against the Atlanta Hawks. Radio City Music Hall will resume full-capacity concerts and events next month.
Statewide, New York has seen Covid infection rates decline to levels not seen since last summer, with 45% of all residents now fully vaccinated.
“Over the last 437 days, my staff and crew (and family!) have amazed me with their professionalism and creativity as we made shows for an audience we couldn’t see or hear,” Colbert said in the official announcement. “I look forward to once again doing shows for an audience I can smell and touch.”
The network said it was adhering to state and federal guidelines and its plan has been reviewed by the state. Anyone attending the show will have to show proof of a vaccine before entering. Face masks will be optional.
Staff and crew members will continue to be tested on a regular basis and undergo daily screening for symptoms. A Covid-19 compliance officer will be on staff to monitor and enforce all health and safety protocols.