CBS is looking to bring some morning glory to Stephen Colbert's struggling late-night show.
Christ Licht, the executive producer of "CBS This Morning," was named Wednesday as the new show runner for "The Late Show With Stephen Colbert."
The move is aimed at giving Colbert more time to focus on performing because he has been heavily involved in the production of the show since its launch, according to executives at the network who were not authorized to comment publicly on the matter.
CBS executives have been looking at ways to give Colbert, who succeeded "Late Show" founding host David Letterman in September 2015, more production support. At the same time, Licht wanted a new opportunity at the network after spending five years turning around "CBS This Morning." After the two met and decided they could work together, a deal was made.
Though profitable for CBS, Colbert's "Late Show" has not generated the buzz that "The Colbert Report" did on Comedy Central, especially in an election year. Meanwhile, James Corden, the TV unknown who took over "The Late, Late Show" that follows Colbert on CBS, has become a viral video sensation with his "Carpool Karaoke" routines.
"Colbert has proven to be less viral than his Comedy Central days and hasn't created a niche segment as of yet," said Billie Gold, vice president and director of programming research for ad agency Dentsu.
"The Tonight Show's" Jimmy "Fallon has a plethora of them including his lip-sync battles, Corden has karaoke in cars. I think Colbert was trying to blend the political nature of his Comedy Central character and be more serious than the variety-show laden 'Tonight Show' and the wise-cracking frat house humor of Kimmel and late-night viewers haven't taken to it in mass."
Letterman's high salary and legacy costs built up over 22 years had made the 11:30 p.m. time period break-even at best for the network in its final years. By starting fresh with Colbert and getting ownership of the show, CBS is now profitable in the hour, especially since advertising demand for all of late night is strong.