When Stephen Colbert debuts Tuesday as the new host of CBS’s Late Show, he’s expected to mostly leave the Colbert of Comedy Central behind. That means he probably won’t openly mock his guests—though that’d make for great network TV—or to launch into the satirical rants that became his signature on that show.
But if the roster of guests for his first weeks on the job are any indication, Colbert plans to remain as politically engaged as ever—and in the process, give White House hopefuls the chance to reach what’s bound to be a uniquely wide audience.
A handful of contenders are making plans both publicly and behind the scenes to visit the Late Show set in the honeymoon period of the show’s first several weeks. Jeb Bush, Bernie Sanders, and potential candidate Joe Biden are all coming on within the show’s first nine days. National Journal has learned that Ted Cruz is booked for September 21 and that Rand Paul’s staff is working with Colbert’s team to arrange an interview in the near future.
For campaigns, booking with the new Late Show seems like a PR no-brainer, especially if a candidate can appear within the first few days or weeks of the show’s debut. The candidates could have the eyeballs of a varied group of voters: Viewers who’d typically tune into The Colbert Report might end up migrating to CBS; David Letterman fans could tune in simply out of habit; while still others might watch the show out of pure curiosity.