Though The Late Show with Stephen Colbert is only eight months into its run, it’s already getting a makeover.
CBS announced today that it would be naming Chris Licht as the late-night show’s new showrunner, as well as its newest executive producer, Deadline reports. Licht, who has put a decade of running talk shows under his belt, will be leaving his role at CBS This Morning, where he led the show for the past five years since its inception in 2011.
Licht has put his stamp on a variety of different talk-led shows to date, from the political to the general Today Show-esque to straight and pure news. In addition to running CBS This Morning, Licht was the founder of MSNBC’s Morning Joe, a platform for former Republican representative Joe Scarborough to sound off on the politics of the day within the confines of his highly-liberal network. From Morning Joe, Licht spun out Scarborough County, through which Scarborough can extend his political views into the pop culture realm.
In fact, Licht has mostly remained on the dayside, though his beginnings came during the late hours of the night. His service to television began in Los Angeles, working for a local news station and spitting out general news stories without the flavor a host like Stephen Colbert is known to give.
The move has been seen as a revitalization for Colbert’s Late Show by some. Since the departure of Letterman in early September of last year, Colbert hasn’t managed to lift the show out of its tie with Jimmy Kimmel Live, whose largest market is on the opposite side of the country from Colbert, in LA.
The New York Times attributes this ratings quagmire to Colbert’s ties to his old world on Comedy Central. Said the Times, “the program has not fully found a balance between the satirical sensibilities of “The Colbert Report” and the broader demands of a nightly network talk show.”
There is no ill will from Colbert, however, to his new EP. “I’m thrilled Chris is joining us at ‘The Late Show,’” said the late-night host. “I am so impressed by what he has done at CBS This Morning. And I trust someone has told him he doesn’t have to get up at 4 a.m. anymore.”
The move does suggest some instability at the show, however. Host of the Tonight Show Jimmy Fallon has managed to have a stranglehold on first-place in the ratings, even though, like Colbert, Fallon’s background is entirely steeped in comedy as a Saturday Night Live cast member. What CBS was hoping for in Colbert was that the host would be able to erase his fake-persona that he wore as a raving Republican talking-head on The Colbert Report and somehow carry his old fan-base at the same time to battle Fallon and The Tonight Show.
There’s some talk that Colbert’s struggle has something to do with his favorite topic as well. While Fallon’s show is chock to the brim with little games and repeat segments like “Mean Tweets,” Colbert’s had his fair share of political conversations so far, despite the show’s intention to be an all-around topic kind of platform. In his debut, Colbert interviewed then-GOP presidential candidate Jeb Bush, and has also hosted Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders, and even Joe Biden, whose heartfelt interview with Colbert made headlines for a few days following.
Whatever Licht decides to do with the show still figuring out where it stands in late-night, he will be officially joining Colbert, as well as Tom Purcell, Meredith Bennett, and former Daily Show host Jon Stewart as executive producer.