Stephen Colbert Announces ‘Late Show’ Line Up, But His YouTube Videos Win [Video]

Stephen Colbert will open this season of The Late Show with a bang, and he’s already working on pumping up his ratings with an aggressive video campaign that’s raking in millions of views. Colbert has already announced that his first episode of The Late Show will feature George Clooney and Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush as guests, but Stephen had some surprises in store for the guest list for the rest of the week, reports The Huffington Post.

Stephen Colbert announced Monday that fans will be treated to Scarlett Johansson and Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla Motors, on his first episode. Colbert also announced that artist Kendrick Lamar will perform and appear as an interviewed guest that same night on The Late Show.

But it doesn’t end there. Colbert plans to interview Uber CEO Travis Kalanick the following night, while country singer Toby Keith will perform as the musical guest. On September 11, Stephen will interview comedian Amy Schumer, along with author Stephen King. Musical guest Troubled Waters will perform on The Late Show that night.

Announcing the guests Colbert will interview is only part of the plan to promote The Late Show before its premiere episode, reports The New York Post. Stephen Colbert and CBS actually started promoting The Late Show more than three months before the show is planned to air its first episode. Colbert has been releasing short, but compelling YouTube videos leading up to his The Late Show premiere, increasing anticipation among the audience of Colbert fans.

In one YouTube video, a bearded Colbert shaved off the bushy whiskers that grew in the time since he left his Comedy Central show in a mock preparation for his new role. The video was a hit, with 2.1 million views, reports The New York Post, and prompting over 123,000 people to subscribe for more Stephen Colbert videos. In addition to his YouTube videos, Colbert also interviewed recording artist Eminem on Michigan public access TV, a quirky but compelling way to promote The Late Show.

“It’s an exciting time in late night at CBS,” Jo Ann Ross, president of network sales for CBS Television Network told The New York Post. “With Corden’s early success and the much-anticipated arrival of Colbert, we have commitments, demand and overall enthusiasm…across all key advertising categories.”

The genius behind the YouTube videos is that Stephen Colbert can promote The Late Show to viewers who otherwise wouldn’t watch late night television, similar to Jimmy Fallon’s YouTube lip sync battle clips, which have attracted over 7.9 million subscribers, reports The New York Post. The Late Show with Colbert will start September 8 and air weeknights at 11:35 p.m. EDT.

[Image credit: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images]