With every aspect of television rapidly evolving, there probably isn’t an area that has undergone more sweeping changes in the past couple of years than late night. A slew of new shows cropped up across the dial, and the networks with the longest traditions in the day part, NBC and CBS, both changed the hosts of their late-night franchises. That big changeover could shake up the Outstanding Variety Series Emmy category, which has long been dominated by late-night shows. The field finally got a jolt last year, with The Colbert Report taking the Emmy after a 10-year winning streak for The Daily Show that followed five consecutive wins by Late Show with David Letterman.
There were a handful of major late-night changes and new additions in the 1990s and the 2000s. The first botched Tonight Show transition in 1992, which installed Jay Leno as successor to Johnny Carson, led to CBS breaking NBC’s late-night monopoly with Letterman and the introduction of Conan O’Brien. They were followed by the launch of The Daily Show on Comedy Central. The following decade saw the arrival of Jimmy Kimmel on ABC, The Colbert Report on Comedy Central, Chelsea Latelyon E! and another messy Tonight Show transition at NBC, resulting in the launch of O’Brien’s Conan on TBS and the emergence of Jimmy Fallon.
UPDATED WITH TWITTER CAMPAIGN INFO: Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert last night urged his viewers to boycott Amazon because, “I just found out it’s deterring customers from buying books from Stephen Colbert.” Amazon is in a battle with Colbert’s publisher Hachette, and has been accused of refusing orders for upcoming Hachette books, raising prices, and deliberately delaying shipments — sometimes by 3-4 weeks. (Amazon lists the ship date on orders for Colbert’s book, America Again: Re-Becoming the Greatness We Never Weren’t, as “two to four weeks”). “This is a big blow to my bottom line,” Colbert said, announcing he had made arrangements through a large independent Portland-based bookstore called Powell’s Books to sell copies of a new Hachette release, California, by Edan Lepucki, on his show’s website. He also urged viewers to download a sticker — also available on his site, that says “I Didn’t Buy It On Amazon” to slap on all their books and other products. “Watch out Bezos — this means war!” Colbert warned Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos. (See the video below.)
A new report warns just how much this country stands to lose when Stephen Colbert shutters his Comedy Central late-night show to take over for David Letterman at CBS. According to the Annenberg Public Policy Center, viewers of The Colbert Report who watched Colbert set up a super PAC and 501(c)(4) organization during the last presidential election cycle were better informed about campaign financing and the role of money in politics than viewers of actual news channels and other, actual-news shows.
“It’s the first study actually showing that Colbert is doing a better job than other news sources at teaching people about campaign financing,” crowed Bruce W. Hardy, lead author of the study and a senior researcher at the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania. “Consistently, we found that Colbert did better than every other news source we included in our model.”
The published study tested The Colbert Report against CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and broadcast nightly news — as well as talk radio and newspapers – as sources of political information. The study, appropriately called Stephen Colbert’s Civics Lesson, was based on phone survey data from 1,232 adults 18 years or older who were interviewed between December 13-23, 2012. Read More »
Was it Matthew Weiner‘s idea or the network’s to make viewers wait until next year for the final episodes of the last season of Mad Men? Is Weiner ending the series because he’s afraid to show ’70s fashions? Did Weiner have no happy memories of the ’60s? Watch here:
“There was some big news last week that slipped through my news crack, and it concerns someone I’ve admired for years and yet, surprisingly, is not me. I’m talking about David Letterman who, last Thursday night, announced his retirement. And I am going to miss this good man,” Colbert said.
For years in the 1990s, Comedy Central was considered nothing more than an incubator for late-night talent. Its first notable weeknight late-night show, Politically Incorrect With Bill Maher, originated there and ran for three years — from 1993-96 — before ABC snatched it to get into the late-night talk-show game. Maher’s successor at ABC, Jimmy Kimmel, also is a Comedy Central discovery, having gotten his start as host on the network’s Win Ben Stein Money and then The Man Show. Before Politically Incorrect left Comedy Central, it helped launch The Daily Show, which premiered behind PI at 11:30 PM before moving to the tentpole 11 PM slot. Back then, the Daily Show had Craig Kilborn as a host. In 1998, he was poached by CBS as a host of the Late Late Show. Sixteen years later, CBS once again is reaching out to Comedy Central’s Daily Show franchise to replenish its late-night ranks, this time drafting the former Daily Show regular and current host of spinoff The Colbert Report to succeed David Letterman on the Late Show.
A lot has changed over those 16 years. Since Jon Stewart replaced Kilborn at the helm of The Daily Show in January 1999, the show has risen to become a late-night leader. It became a top late-night choice for younger viewers and, with the addition of spinoff The Colbert Report in 2005 to form a 11 PM-midnight block, Comedy Central evolved from a late-night poaching ground to a force to be reckoned with. The two shows became pop culture phenomenons and strengthened their hold on the younger crowds by embracing the Internet and social media before most of their late-night competitors. They have enjoyed buzz as well as critical acclaim, with their Emmy dominance nothing short of staggering. The Daily Show won the best variety series category for a record 10 consecutive times before its streak was ended last year by The Colbert Report to give Comedy Central 11 consecutive victories. (It’s worth mentioning that it was the man Colbert is replacing, David Letterman, who ruled the top variety category before Comedy Central’s dynamic duo kicked off their dominant run with five consecutive trophies.) In the variety series writing category, The Daily Show and Colbert Report have won 10 of the past 11 years.
UPDATED WITH VIDEO: “Folks — I’m still here. The dark forces trying to silence my message of core conservative principles mixed with youth-friendly product placement have been thwarted!” Stephen Colbert raved Monday night, in re the motherlode The Colbert Report hit when a Twitter campaign to cancel the show erupted last week after the network tweeted a line out of context from one of his comedy bits. He devoted his entire telecast to his rebuttal, at the end of which he and Twitter co-founder Biz Stone blew up @ColbertReport — the network’s official Twitter account for the program, from which had come the offending tweet. (The page no longer exists on Twitter.) “The Interweb tried to swallow me whole. But I am proud to say that I got lodged in its throat and it hacked me back up, like a hastily chewed chicken wing,” Colbert told fans who’d tuned in, we’re guessing in large numbers, to see how he would respond to the kerfuffle. (See the video below.)
Tonight’s episode opened with crew members carrying boxes out of the studio, The Colbert Report set shutting down its lights, a pink rose wilting and dying, Iron Eyes Cody shedding a tear in that ’70s Keep America Beautiful anti-litter PSA. Cut to Colbert, dressed in Washington Redskins sweats and cap, waking on a couch next to BD Wong. Wong told him he’d had a nightmare. Colbert wondered why he’s still dreaming he’s on a couch next to BD Wong. “You fell asleep watching Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” Wong explained. “Wednesdays at 9, 8 Central, on NBC,” Colbert responded.
COLUMN: Social media went all Lord of the Flies today over a Twitter conflagration that erupted when @ColbertReport tweeted out a single line that Stephen Colbert had delivered on Wednesday night’s The Colbert Report mocking Dan Snyder for his latest reaction to the calls to change the racist name of his Washington NFL team. Snyder, in an effort to placate those calling for a name change — including President Obama — recently announced he’s started a foundation to help Native Americans. Proving his critics’ point, he hilariously named it The Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation.
“I am willing to show #Asian community I care by introducing the Ching-Chong Ding-Dong Foundation for Sensitivity to Orientals or Whatever,” @ColbertReport tweeted yesterday. It since has been deleted.
It’s a line from a bit he did on the Wednesday edition of his Comedy Central show which, in turn, was a reference to a 2005 bit on the program in which TV Colbert – the conservative blowhard that the always-in-character Actual Colbert plays on his show – was caught performing a racist Chinese impersonation. To the surprise of the media, as evidenced by its coverage of the fracas, Colbert came under attack at #CancelColbert, with hashtag activist Suey Park leading the charge, which has been a top trending topic on Twitter for two days running: Read More »
“In September Today launched its Web connected Orange Room, hosted by NBC Youth Correspondent Carson Daly who is 40 years old – that’s like three teenagers in one,” Colbert said, noting, The Orange Room has been such a hit for NBC that recently Good Morning America’s Lara Spencer unveiled their own new youth zone, Social Square, telling viewers, “it’s young, it’s fun — it’s all about you.”
“Kids, you know something is young hip and fun if a middle-aged woman tells you at 8 am…GMA’s Social Square…has all the same social media apps as the mobile phone in your hand but with the convenience of a stationary room you’re not in,” Colbert said.
The line between satire and ignorance is often thin, and a taken-out-of-context line from The Colbert Report seems to have crossed it today. “I am willing to show #Asian community I care by introducing the Ching-Chong Ding-Dong Foundation for Sensitivity to Orientals or Whatever,” The Colbert Report‘s verified Twitter account that bears Colbert’s image tweeted today to an instant backlash that spawned the fast-trending #CancelColbert. The line was lifted verbatim from a segment on the Comedy Central show last night about the move by the owner of the Washington Redskins to launch a foundation supporting Native Americans, but without that context, it came across the Twitter universe as an uncalled-for jab at Asians. Amidst the firestorm of negative reaction, the tweet was deleted.
With the controversy far from subsiding, Comedy Central is not officially commenting on the incident but attempted to distance Colbert from the ill-advised remark with two tweets, ”For the record @ColbertReport is not controlled by Stephen Colbert or his show… This is a Comedy Central promotional account, with no oversight from Stephen or his show, that quoted a line out of context.” Colbert tried to make light of the controversy, feigning outrage on his personal Twitter account, @StephenAtHome:
PREVIOUS: THURSDAY, AM: President Obama’s appearance on Zach Galifianakis’ web series Between Two Ferns is now three layers of TV deep. Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report last night did a report on Fox News Channel’s disapproval of the president’s appearance on the Funny or Die series to promote the Affordable Care Act. “I am not the only one who was angry,” Colbert said of FNC’s unhappiness. “I am just the best at it.”
Up next — Reliable Sources‘ Sunday deconstruction of The Colbert Report’s segment on FNC’s anxiety over Obama’s appearance on Between Two Ferns? Watch after the jump: Read More »
It’s safe to say that finally losing out on the Emmy last year didn’t ruin anyone’s career. Quite the contrary. Amid a flurry of promotions on Comedy Central’s late-night staple, The Daily Show With Jon Stewart has given three series veterans their executive producer stripes. Steve Bodow, Jen Flanz and Adam Lowitt are the new EPs alongside host Jon Stewart. All three of the Daily Show’s new exec producers were with the show throughout its entire 10-year run as Emmy winner for Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy series. Bodow started as a writer in 2002 and worked his way up to co-EP in 2011. Flanz joined the show as a production assistant in 1998 and also was named co-EP in 2011. Lowitt came aboard as a postproduction assistant and makes the jump to EP from supervising producer, a job he landed in 2012. The show also said today that Tim Greenberg and Hillary Kun have been upped to co-executive producers, Justin Melkmann to supervising producer and Elliott Kalan to head writer. Meanwhile, over at the “rival” Colbert Report, Emily Lazar – who has been with the defending Emmy champ since its 2005 launch — has been named co-executive producer. Here’s the Daily Show release: Read More »
“As a student of history one of the things we’ve learned is that the mightiest dynasties eventually crumble,” Jon Stewart said last night on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show With Jon Stewart, launching into a report on the “trouble for the preeminent dynasty of our age” after A&E Network put Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson on hiatus for incendiary remarks in a GQ interview. “I think what the guy said is ignorant but I also have an inclination to support a world where saying ignorant shit on television doesn’t get you kicked off that medium,” Stewart said of Robertson (watch the segment below). “I guess I stand with the free speech absolutists of Fox News who don’t believe we should pressure people to have to adhere to cultural norms of speech.”
“This is a terrible day for Americans although admittedly a great day for ducks,” Stephen Colbert chimed in on his show, reading some of the quotes from the interview and adding, I’ll admit it’s not he eloquent speech you’d expect from a backwoods Louisiana duck murderer.” He added: “He’s taught us so much, like like this little bit of eternal wisdom: ‘If you catch squirrels for your woman, your woman will never cut you off in bed’.” The real party to pity, Colbert said, is A&E. “With this controversy, they may have just lost Duck Dynasty’s massive black and gay audience.”
Comedy Central‘s Jon Stewart-generated late-night shows keep firing buckshot at Fox News Channel for laughs and ratings. Last night, before interviewing Murdoch’s World author (and NPR media critic) David Folkenflick, The Colbert Report‘sStephen Colbert mentioned that Folkenflick accuses Fox news of “public relations sculduggery” involving staffers assigned to rebut every negative blog post about the cable news network in the posts’ comments sections — one former staffer using 100 aliases to get the job done. Colbert then unveiled @RealHumanPraise, a bot created by one of his show’s staff writers, that “takes film reviews from Rotten Tomatoes and swaps out the names of movies for those of beloved Fox News shows and personalities.” It’s been operational for a week and has already posted more than 5,000 tweets.
A review of The Omen now reads: “All references to prophecy and the anti-Christ aside, Shepard Smith’s reporting achieves its horror the old-fashioned way #PraiseFOX.” Other tweets have included:“If Mike Huckabee doesn’t find you wishing you had a gun on you, this is one of his better efforts #PraiseFOX,” “The Kelly Files emphasizes the purpose of fairy tales in our lives and the way a fantasy can help us see reality more clearly #PraiseFOX,” and “While you’re watching it, Hannity lives up to its title #PraiseFOX”. Watch the clip here: Read More »
Stephen Colbert, who has had a Very Special Relationship with Breaking Bad — Colbert’s ice cream made a cameo appearance in the penultimate episode, after which Colbert described the government shutdown as a Washington version of Breaking Bad (sympathetic star is changed into an egotistical self-destructive maniac over many episodes. And, last night, he snagged BB creator Vince Gilligan’s first solo interview since the show shuttered Sunday night. Gilligan noted he’d partied until midnight before hopping on a cross-country flight to guest on The Colbert Report, adding “I’d fly 10,000 miles for you, Stephen.” Here’s the video (beware autoplay): Read More »
Ray Richmond contributes to Deadline’s TV coverage.
On a night marked by a slew of upsets at the 65th Primetime Emmys, perhaps the biggest was The Colbert Report dethroning The Daily Show With Jon Stewart after a record 10 consecutive wins in the outstanding variety series category. No series in any category has won as many in a row. The last time a series other than Daily Show took home the statuette was 2002, when Late Show With David Letterman was the victor. This year, Colbert won not only for variety series but for writing as well, making it the most triumphant night ever for the faux news series on Comedy Central that follows Daily Show every late-night. As might be expected, Stephen Colbert was positively beaming as he met the press backstage, a clown car crew of 16 fellow Emmy winners following him onto the stage. Colbert credited the victory to “a lot of jokes,” adding, “I think we had a really good year.” He also figured it didn’t hurt his show’s Emmy chances that Stewart took the summer off during the voting period to make a movie, leaving the Daily Show hosting duties to John Oliver. “Not that Oliver didn’t do the greatest job ever,” he said. “But maybe that helped, I don’t know.”
Stephen Colbert had booked a rare TV performance by the costumed electro-pop duo Daft Punk as part of Colbchella 2013. That is, until Colbert found out Daft Punk wouldn’t perform on Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report because sister Viacom network MTV had exclusively and secretly booked the group for its Video Music Awards. So to exact revenge Colbert spoiled the surprise on air: ”Don’t tell anyone, because fun fact: no one told me until two hours ago.” MTV apparently cried foul. The notoriously TV-shy musicians are in demand because of their biggest U.S. hit “Get Lucky”. Robin Thicke just ‘happened’ to be in the studio on late notice, and Colbchella ended up celebrating his current chart-topper “Blurred Lines”. We could chalk up all this to sibling rivalry. But maybe the audience was Daft Punk’d?