Chris Licht Named ‘Late Show’ Showrunner

Chris Licht, executive producer of CBS This Morning, has been named executive producer/showrunner of The Late Show With Stephen Colbert. Licht will oversee all aspects of production for the 11:35 p.m. program, which debuted with Colbert in the host’s chair in September.

“In a very short time, Stephen’s comedic talents and interview skills have formed an exciting new franchise for CBS in late night,” said Glenn Geller, president, CBS Entertainment. “Chris’s vision and track record of leading signature shows in important dayparts is a great next step to build on this terrific foundation.”

With Licht moving on, Ryan Kadro has been named executive producer of CBS This Morning. Kadro has been with the program since its development in 2011 and launch in 2012 and currently is co-executive producer. He takes full responsibility for the broadcast Monday, April 18.

“Ryan has been a key part of the success story at CBS This Morning since its inception—and an important partner for Gayle King, Norah O’Donnell and Charlie Rose,” said David Rhodes, CBS News president. “In and out of the control room, Ryan is a great leader who will help us extend this broadcast’s journalistic and commercial success.”

Licht has been VP of programming at CBS News since 2011. After a stint at MSNBC’s Morning Joe, the sought after producer is credited with boosting ratings, and credibility, at CBS’ long lagging morning newscast. Licht began his career at KNBC Los Angeles.

“You can’t work in this business without being in awe of Stephen Colbert and his talents,” said Licht. “The chance to work with Stephen and help build a valuable late night franchise, while continuing to grow at CBS, is truly an honor. I can’t wait to get started.”

Licht also gets the title of executive VP of special programming, CBS Corporation, consulting on various forms of content for divisions across CBS.

He called moving out of news a “bittersweet” decision. “Our CBS News team has built something very unique in the morning that continues to grow in stature and ratings,” he said. “I will miss working with them all, but I leave with incredible pride for what we accomplished together, and I can’t wait to see where Ryan takes the show as it moves onward and upward to the next level of success.”

Year over year, with Colbert as the host, The Late Show is up 7% in total viewers (to 2.94 million) and 40% in adults 18-49 (to 0.7), according to CBS’ Nielsen figures.

Licht, Colbert, Tom Purcell, Meredith Bennett and Jon Stewart are executive producers of The Late Show.  

“I'm thrilled Chris is joining us. I am so impressed by what he has done at CBS This Morning,” said Colbert. “And I trust someone has told him he doesn't have to get up at 4 a.m. anymore.”

Michael Malone

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.