Stephen Colbert made a name for himself by being an outrageous political pundit who was specifically geared toward poking fun at people like Bill O’Reilly. The comedian had a talk show on Comedy Central that immediately followed Jon Stewart and gave fans of the earlier show an extra hour of having Republican gaffes of the week pointed out in the most hilarious of ways.
When Stephen Colbert made the move to The Late Show on CBS, he made it clear that character was going to be left behind. With the RNC and the DNC going on in the last few weeks, that character has made a bit of a reappearance.
For most people, it’s a welcome addition to a show that had been stuck in the mud ratings wise. For others, (read Comedy Central and Viacom) it might be the basis for legal action. Colbert has had a bit of an up and down run since he took over for David Letterman.
In recent months, there had even been talking Colbert might be getting the boot. CNN reports the talk about Colbert’s demise were largely just talk, but some wondered whether James Corden might be a better fit in Colbert’s time slot.
Then the conventions came around and Colbert was able to recapture some of the magic that allowed him to become one of the most beloved talk show hosts in the country. No, he didn’t slide right back into the Stephen Colbert character that had won him his fame, but he got close at times.
Colbert seemed to be more willing to talk about his view on the political world than he had in the past. He did a ton of skits that skewered the Republicans, even Melania Trump. All of this seemed like CBS had let Colbert off his leash a bit.
Colbert’s return to political satirist culminated in one of his most watched shows ever when he had Jon Stewart on as a guest host of sorts. Colbert turned the program over to Stewart who went on a long monolog about how he understood exactly what the Republicans were doing at their convention.
It was vintage Stewart, and it reminded Colbert fans what vintage Colbert was like. Of course, because this is broadcast television and therefore a rather big business, there was also a bit of a problem
Comedy Central is claiming the character Colbert created on their network, the one that was a satire of Bill O’Relly is not the property of Stephen Colbert. Slate reports Viacom, which owns the network sent a “cease and desist” letter to Colbert.
In typical Colbert fashion, he addressed the claims the character he created was the intellectual property of Viacom by saying it was surprising “because I never considered that guy much of an intellectual.”
To fight back at the claims that he was indeed using someone else’s intellectual property on his show, he made it clear this Colbert was the twin cousin of the former “Colbert.” He even trotted out a new segment which he called “The Werd.” This was not to be mistaken for his old segment, titled “The Word.”
Still, it seems likely the character is going to get mothballed once again in the very near future. CBS isn’t one to get all excited about this kind of legal fight. They already had one similar when Letterman made the jump to their network.
The good news is that Colbert truly is a comedic talent. It’s likely he’ll find a way to keep doing his thing. The fun part is going to be watching just how Stephen Colbert skirts the rules moving forward.
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