Stephen Colbert Puts His Stamp On New York’s Ed Sullivan Theater In Advance Of ‘Late Show’ Debut

Stephen Colbert is a couple of weeks away from taking over the Late Show on CBS, but work is already well underway to create a new studio home for the former host of The Colbert Report. Extensive renovations of the Ed Sullivan Theater are updating the space that housed David Letterman’s talk show for more than two decades.

On Thursday, journalist Amy Langfield snapped some pictures of the theater’s exterior as updated signs welcomed the new Late Show host to town.

This changing of the guard is only the most recent of structural changes for the Ed Sullivan Theater. When David Letterman moved into the studio in 1993, after leaving NBC and moving to CBS, the theater was barely habitable. A New York Times article at the time said the landmark theater had a bad rat problem and hidden decay. CBS spent $4 million in 1993 to buy the theater for Letterman and more than $4 million to reconstruct it.

Now, more than two decades later, Colbert’s team is continuing the renovation process. In a GQ profile this month, Colbert was portrayed as deeply involved in the theater’s internal remodel. The stage size, angles and positioning required extensive thought, as Colbert wanted to be able to see the band from what may be his stage for years to come. He perhaps gave fans a sneak peek into the new Late Show by telling the technical team that he needs swing doors in a specific place high up on the beams.

The theater renovation also has an impact on Stephen Colbert’s new studio neighbors. David Letterman was legendary for getting to know nearby businesses when he moved into the district in 1993. One such business owner, Rupert Jee from the Hello Deli, was featured on The Late Show With David Letterman periodically for its entire run. Jee sat down with Dave during one of Letterman’s last shows.

Colbert showed the same courtesy earlier this summer. To let New Yorkers know that Angelo’s Pizza, a joint in the theater’s ground level, was still open during renovations, CBS hung a banner that showed Colbert eating a slice. As Time reported, CBS displayed the banner ad free of charge.

Stephen Colbert’s Late Show debuts September 8 on CBS.

[Photo by Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images Entertainment]