Today at the Showtime panel for the TCA Press Tour, David Nevins (the network’s President and CEO) and Gary Levine (President of Programming) casually mentioned that they are pursuing Stephen Colbert (who current hosts parent company CBS’s Late Show) for a live election night special. Colbert will have the night off on CBS, so the Showtime execs are hoping that they use some corporate synergy and get him to run their coverage as an alternative to CNN and other networks.
This isn’t a huge departure for Showtime, given that they are currently airing two politically charged documentary series, The Circus and Weiner. The bosses also said that if Colbert were to head over to Showtime, they would hope that it would play to their premium status — in other words, that it would be uncensored (and that it would be him — not a Colbert character, which would be amazing). Nevins told journalists after the panel that,
Whatever is going on [with his character], he can take what he’s doing on the CBS show and do it here, but do it a little bit unfettered. It will be interesting to see what Colbert does with no commercial breaks, no language restrictions. He’s kind of excited about that. He’s never done it before. So I think that will be a new thing. I’m anticipating 10-11 p.m. (runtime). However, if the stuff is really happening and it’s going on, I have contingencies to keep rolling. I don’t want it to be exactly the same [as the CBS] show, but it’s going to be in the same studio.
So the execs have been in conversation with Colbert about it, but there’s no confirmation yet that CBS has signed off, or what form it might take. Still, as we aren’t going to have Jon Stewart helping us through this election, so Stephen Colbert is a pretty great get on that front. Fingers crossed this really happens!