“The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” has been on the air only two weeks and we’ve already seen three major tech figures grace the stage — Apple’s Tim Cook, Uber’s Travis Kalanick and Tesla’s Elon Musk. Expect many more, says Emily Lazar, one of Colbert’s co-executive producers.
Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel is officially booked for the October 1 show. Airbnb founder Brian Chesky and Netflix CEO Reed Hastings are also in, but Colbert hasn’t announced when they’ll show up.
“People are waking up to the fact that these are fascinating people,” Lazar said. “In terms of having an impact on everyday people’s lives, Tim Cook or Travis [Kalanick] or Reed Hastings or Evan Spiegel mean as much to our audience as many of the conventional talk show type of guests.”
It’s not unheard of to have a Silicon Valley big shot on a broadcast talk show, but no one has made a point of having them as frequently as Colbert. It’s a clear attempt to help define himself against established competitors Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel — and to woo a tech-savvy audience that doesn’t make a habit out of watching broadcast TV.
“We’re not interested in the corporate steward or cautious people,” Lazar said. “We’re interested in people who are breaking all the china.”
But not too much china. Uber CEO Travis Kalanick’s appearance on the show was interrupted by a heckler supporting the taxi industry, but that scene didn’t make it to broadcast.
“Travis is making everybody mad,” Lazar said. “At the same time people love him. I found that really interesting.”
Colbert’s passions are driving the lineup, and he’s an early tech adopter, according to Lazar. She says he’s fascinated by the changes these new tools bring to society.
“We follow where our curiosity takes us,” Lazar said. “It’s definitely risky.”
Colbert is taking an unproven road with his “Late Show” style. It’s no secret that celebrities play well in an age of viral video. It’s unclear whether business leaders can bring in the same size audience.
Colbert had massive viewership numbers on his debut night — 6.5 million — but quickly fell behind Fallon’s “Tonight Show” for the rest of the week.
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.