Stephen Colbert's first guests for his first week of his first honest-to-goodness late-night show for CBS -- that would be "Late Show With Stephen Colbert," arriving Sept. 8 -- have been announced. And, yes, you would be correct in assuming some of the names are to be expected (Amy Schumer on Sept. 12).
But others, not so much: Elon Musk of Tesla, and Travis Kalanick.
In fact, he's a very intriguing first week arrival, and a timely one too -- as chief of Uber, which recently fought off an attempt by NYC to curtail its Uberish activities in that fair city.
Also: Scarlett Johansson. One assumes "Captain America: Civil War" will be at least one topic of discussion.
Stephen King is also a first week arrival.
Yes, the list is eclectic, and intriguing. But what may be most intriguing (see below) is that "special guest" notation for Tuesday's opener. Start putting your wish list together now: Jon Stewart would probably be an obvious expectation, no?
Also intriguing: Colbert's first-week list, with the obvious exceptions of (say) Schumer or Johansson, is somewhat meatier and less star-driven than what one might normally expect on "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon." Thus with this lineup, Colbert could be signalling that his "Late Show" will be more in line with "The Colbert Report" than the other competing late night options. (Or at least somewhat more egg-heady and nerdist). For Colbert fans, that's probably a good first sign.
Some additional thoughts, specifically on the first show, and George Clooney, Jeb Bush (both of whom were announced a couple of weeks ago). Obviously by pairing Clooney and Bush on the premiere program, Colbert wants to scrub any suggestion that his show will be simply an extension of "Colbert" -- a far left of center talk show for a small and devoted crowd on a cable network. Instead, Colbert is telegraphing that this is a BROADCAST show, where both sides will be heard.
Of course, it would be far more newsworthy to have Donald Trump as first guest...but Trump and Clooney on the same stage at the same time might implode the Ed Sullivan theater. Best to avoid that potential catastrophe.
Here's the lineup:
Tuesday, Sept. 8 Actor George Clooney; Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush; musical performance by Jon Batiste and Stay Human with special guests (n)
Wednesday, Sept. 9 Actress Scarlett Johansson; SpaceX and Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk; interview with and musical performance by Kendrick Lamar (n)
Thursday, Sept. 10 Uber CEO Travis Kalanick; musical performance by Toby Keith (n)
Friday, Sept. 11 Comedian Amy Schumer; author Stephen King; interview with and musical performance by Troubled Waters (n)