Primetime Emmys 2013: Passing Of The Torch – 'Colbert Report' Dethrones 'Daily Show'

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.”

Related: Nikki Finke Live-Snarks 65th Emmys

But Colbert was hardly lording his win over Stewart. “No one is a bigger fan of Jon Stewart than I am,” he said. “I worked on his show a bunch of times when it won best show.” But after 1,343 installments of Colbert Report, Colbert figured it was simply his show’s turn. “We get a boost from just how stupid the real news is,” he said. But Colbert continued to go back to his mentor, Stewart. “Jon invited us to have a passionate opinion about what we were writing about and made sure our own thoughts were in there,” he stressed. “I learned from him how to write satirical comedy. And he’s still there for me. I can call him anytime and ask for ideas and moral support or just the energy to do 160 shows a year. I’m the luckiest man in the world that I can call him anytime for advice and strength.” Colbert also made the point that he appreciates having the insulation of playing a character on Colbert Report, a man “who is not aware of how insensitive he is and believes his opinion on any story is healing a nation. Like most actual pundits.”

After he was done at the mic, Colbert made a point of racing back onstage to assure the media, “Jon Stewart’s streak is not broken! He’s an executive producer of this show. Congratulations Jon! If anyone could do it, you could!”

  1. With all of the ad placement in the show this past year (more and more, Colbert works paid adverts into his commentaries) and the amount of time spent on musical guests or Oprah book club parodies, it surprises me that THIS is the year that the academy gave the show the double win.

    That is to say, for a political satire, it was far less political than it has been in previous years.

    1. Keep in mind, though, that the Superpac coverage by the Colbert Report over the last year has gained a lot of attention, even winning a Peabody. This, in my opinion, is what really set the Colbert Report above the Daily Show.

  2. Well better late than never,though I was seriously wondering if it would ever get the attention it deserves.

    The Colbert Report has been funnier, smarter, and more entertaining than The Daily Show for the last 3 years.

    Glad to see others have come to the party and given it the recognition it deserves.

  3. And speaking of politics, if these shows didn’t spend the majority of their time bashing conservatives, they would double their audience. If you don’t happen to drink the leftist Koolaid, which is way more than half of the viewing public, these shows are unwatchable.

    1. So you’re saying if they tried to not offend anyone and let the viewers decide what the facts are, they would double their audience? Kind of like what CNN is doing??

    2. These shows do not only mock right wing people… they go after left wingers also, quite often. But most of all they go after stupidity and look for what’s funny, and that is VERY often the right wingers. And God forbid, both shows have a social conscience… which means they will inevitably have more to attack republicans for.

      I don’t think they need to double their audience if it means sanitizing their material. They are preaching to a very excited and fairly large choir as it is.

  4. and it’s about bloody time! Colbert Report has been generally speaking better than The Daily Show since Colbert premiered… it is consistently smarter, MUCH more clever and often much funnier (there is a difference which is why more people watch Daily Show, they’d rather laugh than think about the laugh) and takes considerably more effort. But especially in the last few years, Daily Show has become lazy and sometimes even downright annoying in its lazy writing and lackluster/poorly cast correspondents (let’s not forget Colbert has the entire show on his back ever single show).

    I understand why the academy feels like it must give it to the Daily Show during an election season (though I don’t think they deserve it then either lately), any other year it should have gone to Colbert. Which is probably how he finally got it this year.

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