What to expect from Stephen Colbert hosting
Finally, in a clear reversal of fortune, “Late Show” earned an Emmy nomination this year, while “The Tonight Show” will watch from the sidelines for the first time since Fallon took over in 2014.
The competition remains fierce — including other beneficiaries of the Trump presidency, with shows hosted by Bill Maher and fellow “The Daily Show” alumni John Oliver (last year’s winner) and Samantha Bee in the category — but win or lose Sunday, Colbert finds himself in a much stronger position this year than last.
When Colbert was hired, CBS quietly sought to downplay ratings expectations. While the network didn’t expect to beat Fallon, executives characterized Colbert as the smartest host in late night, someone the audience would turn to in the case of major events.
While no one foresaw at the time that the seismic moment would be the election, Colbert’s renewed vigor became apparent during the campaign. It was only after the presidential race’s stunning outcome, however — exacerbated in some progressive quadrants by Fallon’s hair-tousling moment with then-candidate Trump — that the ratings reshaped the state of late-night play.
“I’ve got to say, Donald Trump has done a lot for me in the first 100 days,” Colbert joked in April when the Trump presidency hit that milestone, referring to his show’s ratings spike. “Thank you for your service, Mr. President.”
Whether or not Colbert collects another tangible dividend on Sunday night, for the comic and CBS, the election has been one of those gifts that keep on giving.
The Emmy Awards will air Sept. 17 at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.
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