Colbert to air live after presidential debates

Lynn Elber
Associated Press

Beverly Hills — Stephen Colbert, who capitalized on the political conventions with live airings of his late-night show, will do the same for the presidential and vice presidential debates.

“The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” will air live on CBS after the scheduled Sept. 26 and Oct. 19 debates between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump and following the Tim Kaine-Mike Pence debate Oct. 4, the network said Wednesday.

Colbert, who is in his first-season transition from his Comedy Central series “The Colbert Report,” clearly reveled in making his CBS show more topical with convention comedy.

It also yielded what the network called his “biggest viral clips to date,” a measure beyond ratings of how much attention a show is attracting. Those popular bits: fellow Comedy Central alumnus Jon Stewart’s guest appearance and Broadway star Laura Benanti’s impersonation of Melania Trump.

The host also has introduced a version of the faux Colbert he played on “Colbert Report,” using him to crack biting political jokes. Colbert told viewers that lawyers from his old company said the blowhard cable news host he had played was not his intellectual property — so he introduced “Stephen Colbert’s identical cousin.”

CBS entertainment chief Glenn Geller was asked at a meeting of TV critics Wednesday if negotiations were underway to allow Colbert to use more of his old character.

Geller ducked the question, saying that Colbert addressed it on his show and that he would let him speak for himself.