Stephen Colbert, who has been anchoring the Colbert Report on Comedy Central since 2005, will replace David Letterman as CBS’s late night stalwart in 2015. Discuss implications:
• It’s revolutionary! In kind of a bad way, according to radio host Rush Limbaugh: “CBS has just declared war on the heartland of America. No longer is comedy going to be a covert assault on traditional American values. Now, it’s just wide out in the open. What this hire means is a redefinition of what is funny and a redefinition of what is comedy, and they’re blowing up the 11:30 format under the guise that the world is changing. And people don’t want the kind of comedy that Carson gave us, or even Letterman. They don’t want that anymore. It’s media planting a flag here, it’s maybe … it’s a declaration.”
• Time’s James Poniewozik advocates allowing Colbert to make a declaration: “Just please God, don’t let that thing be a middle-of-the-road, Hollywood-centric, let’s-roll-a-clip, something-for-everyone 11:35 p.m. talk show. Colbert is smart, quick, personable and likeable, but that likeability comes from — weird as this is to say about someone who’s hosted a show in character for nine years — authenticity. Colbert is specifically not for everyone; he’s geekily intelligent, blisteringly funny and has a distinct, often political, point of view. Take that away and you take away everything.”
• In a Top 10 list of why everyone should be excited about Colbert’s move, USA Today includes as No. 5: “Colbert will begin hosting the show as the 2016 presidential campaign is taking shape. Who better to have at the helm of a network show than a comedian that made his name through political satire?”
• On Today.com’s entertainment vertical, Gael Fashingbauer Cooper credits Colbert for keeping “truthiness alive,” on a number of controversial political topics.
• ABC News, clearly ignoring Limbaugh-style issues, breaks down the reaction to the news: “There seems to be three camps forming around the announcement — fans excited for the fresh face on late night TV, those against Colbert being named the new host and fans who will miss ‘The Colbert Report.’”
• Entertainment Weekly rounds up all the kissy reactions from celebrities around the country, including a tweet from someone at the intersection of media and celebrity:
I think Stephen Colbert’s first guest at CBS should be “Stephen Colbert” from Comedy Central.
— Arianna Huffington (@ariannahuff) April 10, 2014
• The Salt Lake Tribune asks whether CBS understands that Colbert enacts parody on “The Colbert Report”: “But you can’t help but wonder if Colbert’s popularity is based on both (a) viewers who understand that he’s satirizing right-wing television personalities and (b) right-wing television viewers who don’t get that it’s satire.”
• Hollywood Reporter’s Tim Goodman cannot stop gushing about the choice: “Yes, fans of Colbert ‘in character’ will miss his show, but the truth is that the format, despite being an excellent vehicle that launched Colbert to stardom, was far too limiting for Colbert’s talent. He’s absolutely going to blossom with this new freedom. From his time on Strangers With Candy to The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, he’s shown his comedic talent in various forms with an [improv] performer’s fluidity. Those are traits that will make him instantly watchable doing his own taped (and live) skits on The Late Show, plus they will serve him well behind the desk doing interviews.”
This unscientific and incomplete poll is finding deep skepticism from one prominent radio host and a lot of cheerleading from other sectors in the media. We look forward to adding more reactions!