CBS brought out its biggest gun at the network’s upfront presentation at New York’s famed Carnegie Hall on Wednesday: Stephen Colbert, who’s poised to take over “The Late Show” after David Letterman retires.
The former “Colbert Report” host cracked up advertisers as he joked about ditching his conservative persona and going on a voyage of self-discovery.
In a video spoofing his transition, Colbert declared that he’s going to find himself, saying, “I leave but a boy, I return a myself.”
Unfortunately, Colbert’s trip was postponed when he discovered that there’s a “CSI: Cyber” now on the air.
In the video, a time-lapse viewing binge ensued, which eventually saw both Colbert and his Labrador retriever watching with him sporting Hassidic-length beards.
After transitioning from the video to the stage of Carnigie Hall in New York City, where the upfront presentation took place, Colbert continued to riff on his transition.
He joked that he had tried a number of personas in the path to finding his true self, including “a Russian strongman.” A picture of Colbert’s head was superimposed on a bare-chested Vladimir Putin flashed on the screen behind him.
He also joked that he briefly became “a Kardashian,” as a picture depicting Colbert in Kim Kardashian‘s infamous “Internet-breaking” picture from her Paper photoshoot popped up.
“I cant tell you how much waxing I had to go through for that shot,” Colbert told a cheering crowd.
Continuing on his theme of self-discovery, Colbert joked that he had taken a number of personality tests, including “the BuzzFeed ‘Which One Direction Member Are You?'” test. “Turns out that I’m a Harry,” he said.
Colbert also took aim at the network’s love of crime procedurals, joking about a series called “NCIS: CSI Division,” claiming “most of my show will be me solving murders by zooming in on pubic hairs.
Colbert went on to say that he was proud to join The Tiffany Network and explained, “Tiffany, of course, was the name of William Paley’s favorite stripper,” a reference to the venerable CBS pioneer. “It was this close to being ‘The Cinnamon Network.'”
Colbert also took a shot at Fox boss Rupert Murdoch, telling the assembled advertisers that they “want young eyeballs, and not just the ones Rupert Murdoch buys on the black market.”
The event opened with a skit featuring “Big Bang Theory” star Mayim Bialik and CBS President, Network Sales, Jo Ann Ross, both dressed identically in nerd-wear and spouting multi-syllabic geek speak.
The presentation also featured a lengthy first video look at the network’s much-hyped “Supergirl,” starring Melissa Benoist as Kara Zor-El.
New “Late Late Show” host, James Corden, also made an appearance, jokingly thanking the network for giving him another chance after he didn’t get the role of Supergirl.
Declaring “I have morals,” Corden said that landing the role required doing “disgusting things,” adding, “Nina [Tassler, CBS entertainment chairman] loved it.”
Earlier on Wednesday, CBS announced its 2015-2016 season schedule which included the two-hour series finale of “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” which will include the return of original leading man, William Petersen, as well as Marg Helgenberger.