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Stephen Colbert: We Almost Didn't Go On the Air Tuesday

Details on the last-minute scramble

Liz Raftery

The 6.6 million viewers who tuned into the premiere of The Late Show with Stephen Colberton Tuesday almost saw a blank screen.

During his opening monologue on Wednesday's episode, Stephen Colbert told the audience that technical glitches and last-minute editing almost prevented Tuesday's episode from ever making it to broadcast.

"At 11:20 ... no one in the building could give me a guarantee that the show was going to be on the air," Colbert said of the premiere, which got underway at 11:35 p.m. "You could imagine how exciting that was for all of us!"

Stephen Colbert's first Late Show lived up to the hype

With that news coupled with his existing nerves over taking the reins from David Letterman, Colbert admitted, "I felt the oxygen begin to drain from my brain and all of my organs shutting down."

Tuesday's premiere, which included interviews with George Clooney and presidential candidate Jeb Bush, was mostly well-received.

Watch Colbert detail the problems here: