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Stephen Colbert on How ‘Our Cartoon President’ Differs From ‘Late Show’

On CBS’ “The Late Show,” Stephen Colbert’s comedy hews close to the news cycle driven by President Donald Trump. But on his new Showtime series, “Our Cartoon President,” Colbert and his team take a different approach to Trump.

“I am well aware of how fast the news moves these days,” Colbert said Saturday at the Television Critics Association’s winter press tour. But of “Our Cartoon President,” which presents Trump, his family, and cabinet as animated characters, he added, “The show does not exist to serve that. The show is the interpersonal relationships of the people you don’t get to see.”

Joined by fellow executive producers Chris Licht and R.J. Fried, Colbert characterized “Our Cartoon President” as a more narrative, character-driven take on the President. The series looks to exploit the internal drama of the White House at a time when, thanks to Michael Wolff’s book “Fire and Fury,” that drama has become more intense than ever.

“I think Michael Wolff must have stolen all 10 of our episodes to write ‘Fire and Fury,’ because there is nothing in that book that isn’t in our show,” Colbert said.

Among the real-life characters whose animated avatars are expected to play key roles in the series are Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Sen. Ted Cruz, First Daughter Ivanka Trump, and the president’s sons Don Jr. and Eric.

“The Trump brothers are wonderful characters in this show,” Fried said. “They’re our Beavis and Butthead.”

Colbert said that Trump’s youngest son, Baron, and youngest daughter, Tiffany, will not appear in the show — which will focus only on family members who have influence in the administration.

Cabinet and White House figures who have fallen out of favor with the real Trump will likely be scarce in the series. “We’re not spending a lot of time animating Rex Tillerson these days, any more than I would animate a mayfly,” Colbert said.

Steve Bannon, the former chief political strategist who has become the target of Trump’s ire since “Fire and Fury” was published, is also not set to appear, but, Colbert said, “in a pinch, Bannon could be back tomorrow if he becomes a viable character in Trump’s world.”

Omarosa Manigault, the former “Apprentice” contestant who made a dramatic exit from her role as a White House staffer last month, also does not appear, to Colbert’s disappointment.

“She definitely would have,” If she hadn’t been fired, Colbert said. “That is a character that had to get cut.”

Colbert also spoke about Trump’s unique ability to provide comedic fodder. “I think the great benefit comedically is how uncontrolled his communication with the world is,” Colbert said. “But here’s the thing — I love my country more than I love a good joke.”

Showtime released the first full trailer for “Our Cartoon President.” The half-hour parody series, debuting on Feb. 11 at 8 p.m., follows the tru-ish misadventures of the 45th President of the United States, Donald J. Trump, and his advisors and family members. The show will officially launch Feb. 11 at 8 p.m. but will be available across platforms to preview beginning Jan. 28, two days before Trump’s first State of the Union Address.

The series is executive produced by Stephen Colbert, Chris Licht, and showrunner R.J. Fried. Tim Luecke will serve as lead animator and co-executive producer. Matt Lappin will serve as consulting producer. It is produced by CBS Television Studios.

See a trailer for “Our Cartoon President” below:

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