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Late-nightTVUpfronts 2017

Most-watched Stephen Colbert is the star of the show at CBS upfront

Stephen Colbert None
Stephen Colbert

What a difference a year makes. 

At CBS' upfront presentation last spring, when "The Late Show" was lagging behind NBC's "Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" by nearly a million viewers, Stephen Colbert barely rated a mention. 

Amid rumors he was going to take Colbert's spot at 11:35, "Late Late Show" host James Corden opened the show with a "Hamilton"-inspired performance. 

But Wednesday at CBS' upfront presentation at Carnegie Hall, Colbert was the undisputed star of show. It's little wonder: The most-watched network has also had the most-watched late-night show since January. 

"If you think that I love Stephen more now just because he's No. 1, you're right," joked CBS Chairman Les Moonves. "Who would have predicted Stephen Colbert would be winning late night on CBS and Bill O'Reilly would be doing a podcast in his underwear?" 

The presentation began with a top-hatted Colbert doing a choreographed song-and-dance routine about the magic of CBS' lineup. He also delivered a brief topical monologue, noting "The Late Show's" ratings rise, riffing on the scandal consuming the new administration and -- lest we forget the purpose of the evening -- plugging his network's lineup. 

Colbert likened his task to that of White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer. 

"I'm just going to say whatever my boss told me to, and when it's over I'll leave without answering any of your questions." 

He name-checked the "hot new star of 'Criminal Minds,' James Comey -- every season is just him writing stuff down and getting fired."

And in response to President Trump, who criticized Colbert for using coarse language because kids might be watching, he quipped: "Who says only old people watch CBS?" 

"There's only one word to describe this president, and the FCC has asked me not to use it anymore," he said. 

Following Colbert onstage, Moonves also made light of the controversy -- read: free publicity -- surrounding the comedian's recent use of a controversial insult to describe Trump, joking that "The Late Show" was especially popular with "FCC investigators 18 to 49." 




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