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April 11, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

The Stephen Colbert who will be hosting CBS’s Late Show will not be the same Stephen Colbert who has hosted Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report for the past nine years. In a statement on Thursday, he said: “I won’t be doing the new show in character, so we’ll all get to find out how much of him was me. I’m looking forward to it.” Conservative commentators girded for battle. Christian Toto at was one of those who sounded the alarm: “Stephen Colbert will soon be the first openly partisan comic with a late night show on network television,” he warned and predicted that he would be mauled in the ratings. Radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh said that CBS has “just declared war on the heartland of America. … No longer is comedy going to be a covert assault on traditional American values, conservatives, now it’s just wide out in the open.” Just two days after calling Colbert a “deceiver” who “gives cover to powerful people who are selling Americans a big lie that this country is bad,” Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly ducked a question from Time magazine about Colbert’s new role. “I hope Colbert will consider me for the Ed McMahon spot,” he said. But the conservative New York Post film critic Kyle Smith warned that no one on the right will be watching. “Just about no conservative finds Colbert funny,” he commented. “CBS is essentially writing off half the potential audience before the first episode even airs.” On the other hand, Robert Lichter, director of the Center for Media and Public Affairs at George Mason University and the author of the forthcoming book Politics Is a Joke: How TV Comedians Are Remaking Political Life, predicted that Colbert will instigate “complaints and controversies.” On the other hand, Jon Stewart, arguably Colbert’s discoverer, announced on his own show Thursday night, “Our good friend Stephen Colbert will be heading to CBS to take over The Late Show from — for at least me — the comedian broadcaster who is the best there ever was, David Letterman. And I think — here is the exciting thing for me — I think Stephen Colbert is up for the challenge.” Jimmy Fallon, who, as the new host of NBC’s Tonight show, will be Colbert’s rival, issued a statement saying, “Now, a lot of people in the media are already talking about there being a new late night war — and I just want to say there’s not going to be any war. It’ll be a dance off. A late night dance off! Get ready, Stephen.”