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Colbert Reveals 'Late Show' Debut 'Almost Didn't Get On The Air'

NEW YORK (CBS) -- One of the biggest late night debuts in television history nearly became one of the biggest duds.

Stephen Colbert revealed Wednesday on CBS’ “The Late Show” that his debut show almost didn’t make it to air Tuesday night due to technical difficulties.

“I almost needed a heart transplant last night because a funny thing happened – and I’m telling you this is an absolutely true story I’m about to tell you – the show almost didn’t get on the air last night. It was a little long, it was a double-stuffed Oreo stuffed with other Oreos,” Colbert said, referencing his Donald Trump-Oreos bit. “You know, first show you want to do a lot.”

PHOTOS: The Late Show with Stephen Colbert Premiere

Colbert said the “computers kept crashing” when they were trying to send it to the network after editing it down, and just minutes before the show was supposed to air at 11:35 p.m. ET, they didn’t know if millions of viewers would actually be able to watch it.

“It took us a while to cut the show down to time, and then when we tried to send it to the network so they could show it to you on air, the computers kept crashing. At 11:20, and again this actually happened, no one in the building could give me a guarantee for certain the show would go on the air last night, so you could imagine how exciting that was for all of us,” he said.

He continued, “After all that, maybe we wouldn’t go on the air. 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 would be a pretty good story, and if we don’t, it still would be a very interesting story at the theater camp I’d be running in Idaho.’”

Luckily – and thankfully – “The Late Show’s” technical team came to the rescue.

“But in the clutch, and I got to thank them, our talented tech team managed to get the show out of hard drives and on the air,” Colbert explained. “And I’m still not sure what the problem was, but if you’re seeing this at home right now, it means we fixed it.”

About 6.6 million viewers watched Colbert’s debut Tuesday night.

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