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Adweek : Television


The NFL and Fox Hope to Score With Their New 'Football Families' Initiative

Wed, 28 Sep 2016 22:53:12 +0000


Fox Sports broadcaster Joe Buck moderated a Fox NFL town hall for Advertising Week today with panelists that included executives from Fox Networks Group and the NFL along with a certain Hall of Famer and current Fox NFL Sunday analyst. The panel discussed how the NFL and Fox can engage the sport's passionate fan base across both linear and digital platforms.

"Millennials are a two-screen generation," said Dawn Hudson, evp and chief marketing officer for the NFL. "They'll watch the game on the big screen, but they also follow the action on another screen. And it's important that advertisers are aware of that. American fans also view advertising as part of the game."

Fox Networks Group president Randy Freer and FNG Advance Advertising Products president Joe Marchese touted America's Game of the Week as the most-watched and highest-rated show on TV. The network's first nationally televised game of the season, the New York Giants vs. the Dallas Cowboys, drew 27.5 million total viewers and had a 9.4 rating in the key 18-49 demographic. 

Hudson and Freer brought up the increase in female viewers in recent years—the average TV audience for an NFL game broadcast is 45 percent female—as well as a greater focus on family and communal viewing. 

That includes a joint initiative between Fox and the NFL called "Football Families." Beginning in Week 6 of the season, the network and league will send a family to their first NFL game. Fox will continue the promotion for nine NFL Sundays during the regular season, with each winning family getting featured on their local Fox affiliate and Fox's national broadcast.

But the man of the hour was Michael Strahan, a legendary New York Giant who's perhaps better known these days for being TV's busiest man. He's currently a co-host of Good Morning America and an Emmy-nominated analyst for the Fox NFL Sunday pregame show. Strahan talked about how he was able to parlay his success in the NFL to television.

"It really started during my playing days," he said. "I learned how to work the system. I made clear to the writers and reporters that hounded me every day that I primarily wanted to talk about things outside of football. I know I gave them unique and unpredictable answers, not bland ones that many other players provide them with. That's sort of how I built my reputation with the media. Playing in New York didn't hurt either."

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AT&T and Hulu Share More Details About Their Upcoming Skinny Bundle Streaming Offerings

Wed, 28 Sep 2016 21:51:06 +0000

Over the next several months, viewers are going to be more tempted than ever to cut the cord, thanks to a pair of anticipated new over-the-top (OTT), skinny bundle offerings from AT&T and Hulu. Those two companies shared more details today about their upcoming services, targeting cord-cutters and cord-nevers, during an Advertising Week panel today about the future of OTT, moderated by Adweek TV and media editor Chris Ariens. "The way people are watching, a la carte and on demand, is the way of the future," said Peter Naylor, Hulu's svp of advertising sales. AT&T will launch its DirecTV-branded offering, DirecTV Now, later this year, as it tries to entice the 20 million households without a pay TV subscription. Subscribers will be able to stream more than 100 channels, without a long-term contract or any hardware like a set-top box, through their phones, tablets and connected TV devices like Roku. "We had the opportunity to deliver this premium experience with a greater choice in flexibility," said Brad Bentley, evp and CMO, AT&T Entertainment. "We have a chance to really customize and personalize the experience using data." Given that AT&T already aggressively uses its set-top box data from cable and DirecTV for targeted advertising and to improve ROI for clients, the company is looking forward to the "individual addressability" opportunities that will be offered by DirecTV Now. Hulu is also preparing its own skinny bundle of cable and network channels, which it will sell directly to consumers next year. "We're trying to take the best of what we like, and a generous dose of reinvention," said Naylor, adding that if the major content providers license their networks to most or all of these skinny bundle offerings,  audiences will gravitate to the service with the best "user experience." One of the newest OTT offerings is Time Inc.'s ad-supported People/Entertainment Weekly Network (PEN), which launched two weeks ago. Response so far has been "fantastic," said Bruce Gersh, svp, strategy and business development for Time Inc. "Our advertising partners have really responded well." Last week, when People rushed to put out a second issue after news broke of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie's split, PEN fast-tracked an 18-minute video about the couple that launched last Friday, the same day the Jolie-Pitt issue hit stands. "It just shows that there's excitement about the brand and the access we have," said Gersh. One draw of OTT offerings like Hulu is that they offer a reduced ad load vs. linear. "You can't mirror the ad load of a conventional TV experience and expect people to watch," said Naylor. And one year after Hulu launched an ad-free tier, priced at $11.99 per month, Naylor reiterated that "the majority" of new Hulu subscribers continue to opt for the $7.99 per month option, with ads. "We had the single biggest year in advertising the same year we introduced an ad-free service," he said. "But people want to be able to get what they want." Time Inc.'s service also has a reduced ad load, with one 60-second ad pod every 60 minutes. "Consumers are responding really well to that," said Gersh. "They're staying and they're watching." With all those new and upcoming OTT options, breaking through the clutter is harder than ever before. Content is "a real differentiator when you're trying to turn the heads of viewers," said Naylor. "We're all looking for that piece of content" to draw audiences, like HBO's Game of Thrones or Netflix's House of Cards. Agreed Gersh, "we believe at the end of the day, great content and well-known brands are going to win." Content is king, but being able to monetize that content is just as important. Nielsen's total audience measurement rollout, set to be released by March, should help, though Na[...]

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Google Says It's Continuing to Close the Gap Between YouTube and TV

Wed, 28 Sep 2016 19:13:38 +0000


In its continued battle to prove it can compete—and beat—with the broadcasting behemoths, YouTube says adults are five times as likely to watch video online than they are through linear.

After surveying around 6,300 adults about their video viewing habits, Google and Ipsos Connect found that 92 percent of YouTube viewers watch the video platform on a mobile device while at home. Mobile also had a stronghold even during traditional TV viewing times—about two-thirds of respondents said they pick up their phone during a TV ad break.

Brand lift was also higher, with purchase intent being 150 percent higher from paid YouTube TrueView ads than from TV ads. Google's survey found that nearly 50 percent of internet users looked for product- or service-related videos before going to an actual store.

The results will be touted this afternoon during an Advertising Week discussion with Tara Walpert Levy, Google's vp of agency and media. Levy, in prepared remarks provided to Adweek ahead of the talk, said the average mobile viewing session on YouTube is 40 minutes—slightly longer than even a 30-minute TV show. She said the results highlight how TV and YouTube can work in tandem when it comes to media buying. (The results come on the heals of another study last month conducted with Nielsen, which found that a TV show's reach drives YouTube engagement.)

"They reinforce that instead of sequencing our buying and planning separately, first by TV, then by online video, we should look at the video opportunity bottoms up and treat the entire video ecosystem as one," she said.

Here are the results of the study:



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Here's What We Learned From the First Week of the New TV Season

Wed, 28 Sep 2016 13:00:02 +0000

The first week of the 2016-17 television season is in the books, and it's been a mixed bag for the broadcast networks so far. While a few shows had big launches—This Is Us, which Tuesday night became the first freshman series to be picked up for a full season, and Designated Survivor are shaping up to be the freshman hits buyers were hoping they would be—there's already one out-and-out disaster, and two networks already seem to be in free fall. Here are some early observations from the first week of ratings. (The CW, which doesn't launch its new shows until next week, is excluded from this look.) Scheduling still rules For the first three days of the season, every new show rated at least a 2.0 in the all-important 18-49 demo. That's because the networks gave those series the very best chance to succeed, airing them either before or after their biggest shows like NBC's The Voice (which launched both The Good Place to a 2.3 rating and This Is Us to a 2.8, highest of all new shows, which prompted NBC's quick order for an full, 18-episode season); CBS' NCIS (Bull, 2.2) and The Big Bang Theory (Kevin Can Wait, 2.6); ABC's Modern Family (Speechless, 2.0) and Black-ish (Designated Survivor 2.2); and Fox's Empire (Lethal Weapon, 2.2). "We're back to protected time slots," said Sam Armando, lead investment director at Mediavest | Spark. "The network made it a point for the shows they're high on to really protect it with something." That success validates the point broadcast schedulers made in our April feature—that even as viewing habits shift, the best way to get a new show sampled is to put it before or after a current hit. Scheduling is more important than ever. And when live-plus-3 ratings were factored in, This is Us and Designated Survivor pulled away from the freshman pack. This Is Us had a 1.4 bump (more than some new shows managed in live-plus-same day), jumping up to 4.2, and Designated Survivor added 1.5 to end up at 3.7. Shows without big lead-ins, meanwhile, withered on the vine. Fox's superb Pitch came in at a 1.1, which still managed to improve on its anemic Rosewood lead-in (0.7). And The Exorcist could only scare up a 1.0 on Friday. But Shonda trumps scheduling One glaring exception to the week's scheduling success was ABC's drama Notorious, which was given the cushy Scandal time slot (that show is delayed until January to accommodate Kerry Washington's pregnancy), sandwiched between Grey's Anatomy and How to Get Away With Murder. But the TGIT audience, used to watching Shonda Rhimes-produced shows then, completely rejected Notorious, which didn't come from Rhimes and also happens to be one of fall's worst new shows. Notorious shed 56 percent of its Grey's lead-in, dropping from a 2.5 to a 1.1, which is just one-third of what Scandal did there last fall. It also brought down How to Get Away With Murder, which could only manage a 1.4 (even with its finale, but down almost 50 percent from its 2.6 last fall). That abysmal performance should trigger fall's first schedule change, as ABC will need to stop the hemorrhaging by shifting Notorious to another night if not cancelling it outright. CBS' conservative strategy is paying off Earlier this month, I wrote of CBS' new shows: "I can't remember another freshman fall lineup in which all shows were likely to be so warmly embraced by that network's core audience while being completely rejected by everyone else." And that's what has happened. CBS' doggedly on-brand new shows racked up scathing reviews but drew the CBS audience the network was counting on. Even MacGyver managed a 1.7 rating on Friday, CBS' best demo rating of the night. ABC and Fox are in trouble, but CBS and NBC aren't out of the woods The heads of all the broadcast networks shared their fall TV playbooks earlier this month, b[...]

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Here's How 'Younger' Star Sutton Foster Likes to Chill Out

Tue, 27 Sep 2016 23:25:39 +0000

Specs Age 41 Claim to fame TV Land's Younger (Season 3 premieres Sept. 28); Netflix's Gilmore Girls reboot; Tony Award winner. Base New York Instagram @suttonlenore What's the first information you consume in the morning? I guess it's always my phone. I check my email, texts, and then Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. It's horrible. I look at all of those things before I get out of bed. And then I switch over to The New York Times app and I read the morning briefing, so I can at least know what's going on in the world. What's your go-to social platform? I guess the one that I actually use the most is Instagram. I'm not much of a political activist or someone who uses Twitter as a platform. If anything, I'll use it to share videos of puppies and kittens [laughs]. I find that Instagram is more my speed. Who do you follow on Instagram? I just started following Black Jaguar-White Tiger. I love the Instagram pets—Marnie, Toast Meets World [laughs]. My little dream world that I've created in my head is full of puppy dogs and rainbows and people skipping around. And especially in a climate like we're in right now with so much shit going down, that's my escape. The number of kitten and puppy videos I torture my husband with is endless. I take great pride in what I post, too. That's what I love about Instagram—it's about putting something really beautiful out there for people to see. I saw that you have an Instagram account for your own dog, @mabelthedorkie. Oh yeah, I do. It's because somebody actually created a fake account for her on Twitter or something, and I was like, "You can't do that! It's my dog!" So I made one. She's so frickin' cute. I want her to be a famous dog in her own right because she's so adorable! So I really need to work on her social media and her PR. She definitely needs a publicist and a book deal. What TV shows do you watch? My husband and I watched Stranger Things on Netflix because everyone was talking about it. We're big fans of Game of Thrones. Now we're on a search for a new program, so I think we might try Happy Valley or Peaky Blinders. And I've also been re-watching Gilmore Girls on my own. It makes me so happy. It's like hanging out with an old friend. Do you listen to any podcasts? I love Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me, and Mystery Show is one of my favorites. It's this really quirky little podcast, and the girl who hosts it has this great sense of humor and really great demeanor. She does these mini mysteries—she's like Nancy Drew—and it's her commentary that makes it so entertaining. It's not big mysteries or anything like that—one of them might be about someone who found a belt buckle with someone's initials on it and she tries to find the story behind it. What's on your reading list? I've got a few books on my nightstand. One is called Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead. I'm kind of in a self-help book phase. I've been reading about opening up, letting go, all that stuff. [Laughs] It's horrible and wonderful at the same time! This story first appeared in the September 26, 2016 issue of Adweek magazine. Click here to subscribe. [...]

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Demographics or Data: Which One Will Dominate Future Ratings Measurement?

Tue, 27 Sep 2016 19:09:19 +0000

Nielsen is rolling out its total audience measurement tool by next March, and the company is already looking ahead to how it—and the industry—will measure viewing habits into the next decade. Speaking at a New York Advertising Week panel about ratings measurement in 2025, Megan Clarken, Nielsen's president of product leadership, talked about the company's launch of digital content ratings on Friday, a story Adweek broke this morning. "It's very exciting for us," Clarken said. "It was only dreamed about eight years ago, and here it is." Over the next eight or so years, Nielsen is looking to attribute devices to people and provide better targeting capabilities. The company is rolling out a new meter across its various panels. (Earlier this month, it said it will finally phase out paper TV ratings diaries, which are still used in 140 local markets, "in early 2018.") The new nanometers are twice the size of a mobile phone, and one-fourth the size of the current meters, said Clarken. The company is also working on revamping the people meters and is testing having its panelists wear Fitbit-like devices "to complement and eventually replace the device they use today." The company will be keeping an eye on the behavior of millennials and whether their viewing habits change as they get older. Clarken said millennials will be more likely to watch more live TV as they get older, follow trends, watch more VOD than their 35-49 counterparts and use more connected TV devices. They'll play less video games but will participate in more augmented reality like Pokemon Go. During her talk, Clarken discussed the future of brand advertising and targeted, or addressable, advertising, and said Nielsen believes age and gender demographics will continue to be the core base for both. Age and gender is the only demographic break with "a known universe," said Clarken. "We know the size of it, so we can report on market share." However, she said, representative panels (i.e., exactly what Nielsen does) will be necessary to take the biases out of "big data" like Facebook, which doesn't provide info for users under 13 or account for shared devices. "Because of fragmentation and this proliferation of channels and platforms, we will always need big data to come in and help with the measurement, but it will always need to be weighted and balanced by a representative sample," Clarken said. But some of the panelists who spoke after Clarken's presentation disagreed. "It scares me to think about the year 2025, and we're still transacting TV using age/sex demographics," said Howard Shimmel, chief research officer for Turner Broadcasting. "If we do this, we're going to leave lots of ROI for [advertisers] untapped because we're not doing things like targeting." Instead, he said, foundational metrics should take a backseat to driving the most ROI. Lyle Schwartz, managing partner for GroupM, said that's already how he and his clients operate. "We don't plan on demographics," he said, noting that he focuses on underlying data like ROI, which GroupM's research team generates in-house. "That's the information I have to negotiate off of," said Schwartz, adding that "if the industry can't agree on metrics, fine—we will do it ourselves." Schwartz argued that "you can't lose the dynamic of each medium," even with apples-to-apples metrics because radio, TV and magazines each bring something different and valuable to the type for clients. "We work with our clients to make sure that we're putting their money in the right place at the right time, with the right message, which ironically was something written in 1958," he said. "The only thing different now is that we ha[...]

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Live Video Is Breathing New Life Into Twitter as It Aims for Broader Success

Tue, 27 Sep 2016 17:21:19 +0000


Just as acquisition speculation is heating up, Twitter has gotten a bit of its mojo back. It can largely thank a few weeks of livestreaming high-interest events, namely the NFL's Thursday Night Football and Monday night's presidential debate.

"It's an extension of what we've always been doing," said Adam Bain, Twitter COO, speaking in front of a few hundred people at IAB Mixx in New York Tuesday morning. "You should view it as we are just getting started in the live [space]."

In recent months, Twitter has been busy inking deals with the NFL, MLB, the NHL, the NBA, the NCAA's Pac-12 Conference, Bloomberg Media, CBS News and Cheddar. The moves are designed to make Twitter both an alternative to linear TV and a complementary feature to it. 

"TV is still absolute king," Bain said. But his platform is there, he said, for "people cutting or shaving the cord."

The company's NFL deal provides plenty of hope. Twitter said there were 2.4 million viewers for its Thursday Night Football livestream on Sept. 22 compared to 2.3 million the first time it aired a week earlier. Whether Twitter can regularly attract major eyeballs for non-NFL content—or for events other than those that only take place every four years like the election—remains to be seen. 

A key move toward attracting a bigger audience, Bain suggested, was making the logged-out experience on Twitter "nearly identical" to logged-in viewing. Everyone sees the content and real-time tweets about the action, which, for Twitter's sake, hopefully will draw more viewers to the platform who are not part of its 310 million monthly users. 

Meanwhile, Monday night's debate was buzzy this morning nearly everywhere online and offline—from the halls of the IAB event at Times Square's Crowne Plaza Hotel to the controversial #TrumpWon hashtag on Twitter. During the 89-minute debate, the social chatter was palpable. According to SocialFlow, there were more than 3 million mentions of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton during the debate on Twitter, with the Democratic nominee generating 233,000 more mentions. 

"It was the most-tweeted debate ever," Bain said. "It was probably our biggest livestream."

Twitter hadn't released viewer numbers at press time.

But a Twitter acquisition may be looming, with Disney, Salesforce and Google reportedly making bids to acquire the company. Bain, who was interviewed at IAB Mixx by Bloomberg tech reporter Sarah Frier, didn't directly comment on that. The independent event typically coincides with Advertising Week, which runs through Thursday.

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Continuing Its Total Audience Rollout, Nielsen Will Launch Digital Content Ratings on Friday

Tue, 27 Sep 2016 13:00:01 +0000

Another piece of Nielsen's total audience measurement rollout has fallen into place, as the company will launch its new digital content ratings metric this week. The ratings metric measures audiences across desktop and mobile devices for all content, including video, audio and text. Digital content ratings, which is a core component of the company's total audience measurement tool, will be available for all Nielsen clients beginning on Friday, the company announced this morning. The syndicated release provides a daily measure of audiences with the same apples-to-apples metrics used for linear ratings.  The syndicated clients involved with digital content ratings include BuzzFeed, Vice, Mashable, PopSugar, Discovery, Freeform, Kik, AOL, A&E and Tastemade. Last week, Nielsen solidified plans for its total audience measurement rollout, announcing that its total content ratings will be available to all Nielsen clients, including all networks, agencies, analysts and press, by March 1. But the digital content ratings will be available a full five months earlier than that. The company's digital content ratings differ from the total content ratings, which are video-focused and contain "de-duplicated" numbers, revealing the total unduplicated audience by removing multiple viewers by the same person on different platforms. "The core audience metrics, which are used as currency for settlement and ad planning, are part of total content ratings," said David Wong, svp of product leadership for Nielsen. So while clients could add the linear ratings and digital content ratings together to approximate a program's total content rating, it won't be accurate, said Wong. The digital content ratings are similar to Nielsen's digital ad ratings, which are not a syndicated product because they are campaign-specific and contain proprietary information about the brands involved. Nielsen said its digital content ratings will help digital and television publishers monetize video launches, live coverage and other moments, while agencies and advertisers can incorporate that data into their media plans. For each brand that Nielsen measures for digital content ratings, it offers two sets of metrics. One is an overall view of time spent, reach and audiences that view all content (video, audio and text) on that particular brand overall, and the other is a deeper dive into video metrics, like amount of time spent and average audience. Publishers can decide whether to allow Nielsen to release information on individual videos, which "most of the longform folks" will do," said Wong. The early rollout "provides our clients time in the fall to get used to it, to start to use it publicly, and to have data which is fully consistent with the digital measurements in full content ratings over the next months," which will help them get up to speed as total content ratings are rolled out early next year, said Wong. Until now, the only clients with access to these metrics were the 50-plus participating TV and digital media brands that have been involved in the evaluation process of total audience measurement, as well as companies with digital-only content like BuzzFeed and Mashable. "Delivering syndicated digital content ratings is a tremendous milestone, and provides publishers, agencies and advertisers powerful insights that help them understand the full value of their content across digital platforms," said Megan Clarken, Nielsen's president of product leadership, in a statement. Nielsen's digital content ratings announcement included statements from several of the syndicated clients. "Chat is at the core of the smartphone era, and we're leading the way in showing brands what's possible with this new medium," said Josh Jacobs, president of K[...]

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Live Viewership May Be Down, but TV Content Is Still the Main Thing People Are Streaming

Tue, 27 Sep 2016 12:00:01 +0000

Hulu and Netflix have become the cereal aisle of streaming services. There are thousands of options for thousands of different tastes. And with the influx of original content available, advertisers are worried how that will affect sales for more traditional TV shows. According to a report by Nielsen, viewers are still moving away from TV but not quite as sharply as they used to. According to this VAB report, which aims to address the relationship between streaming, TV and advertisers, just 6 percent of the U.S. population does 87 percent of the streaming.   So, only a small part of the cereal aisle is actually busy. Additionally, more than half of Hulu users (67 percent) choose network TV shows to stream, and 44 percent of Netflix users head for its TV library as well. People who stream, in other words, are usually streaming TV programs. Fewer people may be spending time on linear TV (i.e., watching it live as it airs for the first time on network television or watching it soon after via DVR), but 74 percent of that drop-off can be attributed to people actually streaming those TV programs.   Though Netflix recently said it would like to be at 50 percent original content and 50 percent "licensed TV shows and movies," according to Variety, its programming split in 2014 was 91 percent licensed and just 9 percent original content. Perhaps TV advertisers don't have to be as concerned with streaming services as they once thought. The VAB says ad-supported TV reach has "remained stable despite streaming growth." That means ad companies and agencies feeling overwhelmed by all the small-scale, mini streaming services don't have to be quite so panicky.  "TV is still the medium with the largest scale and time commitment," said Danielle DeLauro, svp of strategic sales insights for VAB. Yes, people are spending less time with linear and time-shifted TV, but that shouldn't necessarily scare advertisers. People are mostly just trying to find TV content wherever they can find it. Think about it: If you missed an episode of a TV show you were really looking forward to watching (perhaps This Is Us on NBC, which had a viral trailer this summer), you'll probably use your Hulu subscription to catch up on that episode, DeLauro explained. There's a symbiotic relationship between TV and streaming. Just because people are watching an Amazon original show doesn't mean they're not also keeping up with the latest slate of NBC comedies. The heaviest of streamers, according to VAB, can watch up to four hours of TV programming and only 22 minutes of streaming content. "It's not an and/or situation," DeLauro said. "It's how they work together." You can see the full report from the VAB here. [...]

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What Stephen Colbert Has in Store for Tonight's Late Show Post-Debate Live Episode

Mon, 26 Sep 2016 14:08:22 +0000

No one is more excited for tonight's first presidential debate than Stephen Colbert and his Late Show With Stephen Colbert staff, led by executive producer and showrunner Chris Licht. "It's going to be such an event, and because it's seen on all the networks at the same time, tens of millions of people will see it," said Licht of what could be the biggest debate audiences ever. "And at 11:30, we will be the only place to get a real-time take on what happened." That's because tonight kicks off the first of three live post-debate Late Show episodes over the next month. The show will also go live after the third presidential debate on Oct. 19, and following the vice presidential debate on Oct. 4. The second presidential debate falls on Sunday, Oct. 9, when Late Show doesn't air. It's the Late Show's return to live shows following two weeks of real-time broadcasts during the Republican and Democratic National Conventions, which gave the show a ratings and digital boost and "energized" Colbert and the staff, said Licht. Those episodes included the revival of Stephen Colbert's Colbert Report persona (much to the dismay of Viacom's lawyers) and the surprise return of Jon Stewart behind a late-night desk, as he took down Roger Ailes and Donald Trump in his first Daily Show-style rant in 11 months. Unlike those heavily themed debate broadcasts, the post-debate shows "will be less razzle-dazzle, special-themed, and more of a typical show that happens to have a very fired-up audience, because live audiences are great," said Licht. "And a supertopical, brand-new monologue, based on what millions and millions of people will have just seen on television." Monday's show won't include any integrations, but Colbert did participate in a "Snapple 2016 Teacision" integration during the Sept. 15 episode. Was this a paid promotion of Snapple's delicious and fun TEAcision 2016? #LSSC — The Late Show (@colbertlateshow) September 16, 2016 Licht, who was previously the executive producer of CBS This Morning, arrived in April as new executive producer/showrunner. "I always looked at my job to be, remove anything encumbering [Colbert] from creativity and being himself," he said. "I think what the biggest issue was is he had so much of the show on his shoulders that he didn't have that opportunity." But Licht also injected more urgency and timeliness into the broadcast, especially with the decision to do the live post-convention shows. "It just seemed natural. If we all decide that our mission in life is to be the most relevant and topical show, then you cannot fulfill that mission if you're not live," said Licht.  Before those convention episodes had concluded, the team quickly realized they wanted to do more live episodes. "I think we were feeling it even during the second week, like, wow, these have been really smooth, and very rewarding. When else does it makes sense to do it? Oh, for the debates," said Licht. And, perhaps, on Election Night as well. Last month, Showtime Networks president and CEO David Nevins made the "half announcement" that Colbert would host a live comedy special for Showtime on election night, Nov. 8—probably. "I think it's going to happen," Nevins said then. "Stephen wants to do it. I want to do it. The studio wants to do it." There's still been no official announcement (the Late Show won't air on election night, which would free Colbert up to appear on CBS' sister network), but "it's definitely something that I would expect to happen," said Licht. "There's a lot of i's to dot and t&[...]

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