There was apparently so much good material that came out of Stephen Colbert’s debut on "The Late Show" that some of it wound up on the cutting room floor.
A quiz segment featuring Colbert and Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush, which Deadline reported took two run-throughs to get right, didn’t make it into the telecast, which ran long. The night’s studio audience, which included people who traveled all the way from Canada, were there for nearly three hours.
What did hit CBS’s airwaves was a tough but fair conversation between the two men. After thanking the former governor for stopping by -- “You’re my first Republican candidate,” Colbert said, and giving him the chance to plainly state why he was running for president, Colbert pressed Bush on one of his biggest talking points -- the idea that he can build consensus and coalitions across a deeply divided government -- and gave him a third chance to discuss ways in which he is politically different from his brother, former president George W. Bush.
Bush tried to wriggle out of that question -- "I'm better looking," he replied, at first -- before Colbert pressed him into an answer about his brother's failure to impose fiscal discipline on his Republican colleagues.
During the first third of their conversation, Colbert even offered something resembling an endorsement. “There is a non-zero chance that I would vote for you,” Colbert said.
The quiz, which could end up lost to history or becoming one of the show’s first all-important pieces of digital content, happened during Colbert's chat with Bush, and it probably might not have surprised Colbert's most obsessive fans. In addition to being a late-night fixture, a highly secretive test show aired on a public access cable channel in Monroe, Michigan, featured Colbert dropping a surprise quiz on Eminem, one of that show's featured guests.
The quiz concludes an eventful week for Colbert and Bush, the first of many politicians who will come calling over the next few weeks. After Bush raffled off a ticket to tonight's premiere without asking permission, Colbert one-upped him with a raffle of his own to support injured veterans.