Stephen Colbert is no longer allowed to use the faux conservative character he played for nine years on Comedy Central’s Colbert Report on his new show, CBS’ Late Show with Stephen Colbert, the late-night host explained in a segment on the program Wednesday night.
Earlier this month, Colbert reprised his Comedy Central character in a Late Show segment that also featured former Daily Show host Jon Stewart.
But according to the real Colbert, an attorney from “another company” contacted CBS after the segment aired and said the late-night host could no longer use the character because Comedy Central holds the intellectual property rights.
“Immediately after that show, CBS’ top lawyer was contacted by the top lawyer from another company to say that the character Stephen Colbert is their intellectual property,” Colbert said on Late Show Wednesday night. “So, it is with a heavy heart, that I announce that, thanks to corporate lawyers, the character of Stephen Colbert, host of ‘The Colbert Report,’ will never be seen again.”
To get around the restriction, Colbert introduced his “identical twin cousin” Stephen Colbert, who looked remarkably like his old character, and even played around with his old segment “The Word,” re-branding it “The Werd.”
Colbert has struggled in the ratings since taking over for David Letterman last year, often trailing NBC’s Late Night Starring Jimmy Fallon and ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live!
The Late Show broadcast two weeks of live coverage this month during the Republican and Democratic National Conventions, during which Colbert dressed up as a character from The Hunger Games to mock Donald Trump and brought back Jon Stewart to do a blistering ten-minute takedown of the Republican candidate.
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