An unusual partnership CBS and Showtime
Stephen Colbert is going live once again—only, this time, it won’t be on CBS.
The broadcast network announced on Monday that the comedian will host a live special on Election Night that will air on the CBS-owned premium cable network Showtime. The one-hour show—called “Stephen Colbert’s Live Election Night Democracy’s Series Finale: Who’s Going to Clean Up This Sh*t?”—will air on November 8 at 11 p.m. ET.
This partnership between CBS and Showtime is unprecedented, and it reflects the competitive nature of the late-night landscape. The Showtime special will allow the comedian to react in real-time as election results roll in from all over the U.S., and Colbert won’t have to worry about waiting for CBS’ regular election coverage to end (which will likely be well after midnight) before he goes on TV.
In the competitive late-night TV landscape, Colbert has tried to use his political comedy bonafides to help CBS’ The Late Show stand out from its rivals. Colbert’s ratings regularly trail behind those of Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show on NBC. Colbert is one of multiple late-night hosts—along with The Daily Show‘s Trevor Noah and Seth Meyers, of NBC’s Late Night—to host live editions of his show during the weeks of the Democratic and Republican conventions, as well as live shows following some of the presidential debates.
The live shows allow comedians the first shot at cracking timely jokes about the latest news in what has often been an entertaining and exasperating election cycle. Colbert’s live post-convention shows over the summer helped build positive buzz for The Late Show while giving the comedian his best ratings in months.
A press release from Showtime CEO David Nevins said that the cable network will give Colbert a platform unlike the one he enjoys at CBS, noting that “Colbert will be able to do things he’s never been able to do in this campaign, such as directly quote a candidate without being bleeped.”
“It’ll be all the political comedy you love from my CBS show, with all the swearing and nudity you love from Showtime,” Colbert said in a statement. Showtime also promised “an eclectic group of guests” that will join Colbert for the hourlong special at his normal venue, the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York.
While the network did not name any specific names, Colbert’s previous guests for live shows on CBS this year have included some of his former Comedy Central colleagues, such as Jon Stewart and John Oliver.