The Late Show With Stephen Colbert to Become the First Late-Night Show to Follow the Super Bowl

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Well, this is unexpected: A live edition of The Late Show With Stephen Colbert will air right after CBS’s broadcast of Super Bowl 50, marking the first time a network has handed over the highly coveted post-championship slot to a late-night program. (ABC debuted Jimmy Kimmel Live! on Super Bowl Sunday 2003, but it put an episode of Alias right after football.) Historically, broadcasters have used the guaranteed-to-draw-big-ratings position to boost dramas, comedies, or, more recently, unscripted fare such as the series premiere of CBS’s Undercover Boss. But with CBS completely reinventing its late-night lineup in 2015, Eye brass apparently felt the best way to maximize the once-every-few-years opportunity was with giving its new lead host what will almost certainly be his biggest audience ever. At first blush, this seems like a pretty good idea: Colbert, and most late-night hosts now, are basically doing variety shows, which by their nature are meant to appeal to broad audiences. You don’t get any broader than Super Bowl Sunday, so assuming Colbert books the right guests and throws in a few cool viral videos, it should make for good post-game viewing. CBS isn’t forgetting about (slightly less) new host James Corden, either: He’ll host a special Sunday edition of his Late Late Show right after affiliates’ late local newscasts that evening.