Colbert Goes Rogue! Late Night Host Breaks Rules With Big Bet on Politicians

“God knows there are going to be a lot of opportunities for comedy going into the election year,” CBS chief Nina Tassler tells TheWrap

Last Updated: September 3, 2015 @ 11:01 AM

“The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” has not premiered yet, but the show is already breaking new political ground for late-night television.

In his first two weeks on the air, the former “Colbert Report” host is taking a different approach to assembling his initial lineup of guests than his broadcast late-night predecessors did. Colbert’s first two weeks will find him interviewing not only some of the hottest names in entertainment, but also luminaries in the business and political worlds as well.

In his first week alone, Colbert will speak with Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush, Vice President Joe Biden, and Tesla CEO Elon Musk. This is in addition to George Clooney, Amy Schumer, and Kendrick Lamar.

Week two ups the ante. Colbert will interview Democratic Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon.

“God knows there are going to be a lot of opportunities for comedy going into the election year,” CBS entertainment chairman Nina Tassler told TheWrap. “Stephen’s show will be entertaining. There will be great interviews. There will be taped segments. And you can count on him for a humorous analysis of what’s happening on the political landscape.”

Inviting such high-profile political figures to join him during his first few weeks on the air represents a major shift from what other hosts did in their first weeks.

David Letterman did interview then-Vice President Al Gore during his second week as host of “Late Show” in 1993, and Seth Meyers interviewed Biden for the first episode of his “Late Night” tenure in 2014. But no other broadcast late-night hosts enjoyed the company of so many powerful political figures at the start of their tenures as Colbert.

Letterman’s early shows featured stars such as Demi Moore, Michael J. Fox, and Bill Murray. Jay Leno interviewed Billy Crystal, Emilio Estevez, and Christian Slater after taking over for Johnny Carson on “The Tonight Show” in 1992.

More recently, when Jimmy Fallon took over for Leno in 2014, he interviewed Will Smith, Jerry Seinfeld, and Bradley Cooper in his first week.

Colbert interviewed countless political figures as host of Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report,” including multiple appearances by President Barack Obama.

“The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” premieres on CBS on Sept. 8 at 11:30 p.m.