NEW YORK, Sept. 10 (UPI) -- Tuesday's inaugural episode of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert was seen by 6.6 million viewers, CBS announced.
The program -- which featured interviews with George Clooney and Jeb Bush -- was the most-watched, late-night show of the evening. The episode also featured a musical performance by Jon Batiste and Stay Human.
Colbert, former star of The Colbert Report, this week took over The Late Show from longtime host David Letterman, who retired in May after more than three decades in late-night television.
Colbert confessed during Wednesday's episode that his series premiere the evening before almost didn't make it to broadcast because he taped a nearly two-hour show that had to be edited down to under 60 minutes.
"The show premiered last night, and I'm happy to say we made it to Show 2," the New York Daily News quoted Colbert as saying.
"This is great because I believe that's when my health insurance kicks in," he explained. "And I almost needed a heart transplant last night because a funny thing happened -- and this is an absolutely true story I'm about to tell you -- the show almost didn't get on the air last night."
He breathlessly recounted how the staff worked to get the show ready, but the computers kept crashing.
"And at 11:20 ... no one in the building could give me a guarantee for certain that the show was going to go on the air last night. You can imagine how exciting that was for all of us," he quipped.
"And as I felt the oxygen begin to drain from my brain and all my organs shutting down, I thought: 'If we actually make it to air, this will be a pretty good story. And if we don't, it will still be a very interesting story at the theater camp I'll be running in Idaho.'"