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Stephen Colbert’s ‘Late Show’ to Test Summer Friday Format

Variety logo Variety 6/28/2017 Brian Steinberg
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Stephen Colbert will test a new way of greeting the weekend.

Producers at CBS’ “Late Show” will this week experiment with the program’s Friday broadcast by running a new opening and monologue,  then using the rest of the hour to call attention to highlights and segments from earlier in the week. A spokeswoman for the program called the maneuver an “experiment” and suggested the show could well go back to running an entirely new broadcast on Friday if circumstances warranted, or if the news of the day was compelling enough to require additional material.

“Late Show” typically tapes two episodes on Thursday afternoons, giving Colbert and his staff a little breathing room on Fridays. The spokeswoman, Lauren Kamm, said the same audience was likely to watch both tapings.

The effort should not come as a surprise to veteran “Late Show” observers. In recent months, Colbert and his team have updated repeats with new segments and fresh material. In April, staffers paired new opening sketches, monologues and some guest interviews with encore presentations of past sit-downs between Colbert and visiting celebrities. In March, the show pre-taped new episodes when repeats had previously been scheduled. And last October, Colbert taped a six-minute segment from home that was added to an old program featuring appearances by Amy Schumer and Michaela Watkins.

“Late Show” will try the concept as it continues to vie for viewers with NBC’s “Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.” Fallon’s program has continued to win among viewers between 18 and 49, the demographic most coveted by advertisers, while Colbert’s “Late Show” has over the past several months staked out a significant lead among overall audience.

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