Okay, we all know that Stephen Colbert is replacing David Letterman, that's a fact, and some are already prepping excuses for him to pull in low ratings, which is probably a given. But this is not what this post is about.
What this post is about is the half-hour gap Colbert will be leaving on Comedy Central between The Daily Show and @Midnight. For those who don't know The Daily Show is where Jon Stewart earns $25-$30 million a year, more than the $20 million earned by Leno and Letterman, for about half of their viewers. @Midnight is a mock game show hosted by nerd-king Chris Hardwick where comedians and other smart-alecs crack wise about crazy stuff the show's writers and producers find on the internet. Now @Midnight's been seeing a very steady rise in viewership thanks to its aggressive online word of mouth campaigns on social networks, and some say it often beats The Daily Show in key demos.
So what should go in between them?
Well, Comedy Central is not really known as the best run of networks, at least from what I've heard. One story I heard involved a producers and cast waiting over a year to find out if their show had been renewed because someone somewhere forgot to make a phone call. So don't expect any decisions being made as swiftly and surely as CBS did with Colbert/Letterman.
Basically, the management style is that if you're one of the flagship clique who deliver either big ratings or lots of kudos they will give you the moon, if you don't you're a punching bag.
Which brings us to who and what will get Colbert's Comedy Central time slot?
Now political humour these days is pretty thin, there are too many areas that are more or less off limits to political comedians barring a shift in who runs Washington.
So doing another political show to replace a political show to reiterate what their main political show just said would just be flogging a dead horse.
Perhaps a more mainstream talk show format would be best, but then the host would be key.
Now if Comedy Central was smart, they'd set up a show where a funny host, or rotating roster of funny hosts, recruited from podcasts, have half-hour chats with other funny people. Include audience participation via the internet, segments, video sketches, and other nonsense.
But Comedy Central will probably just sign the show over to Chelsea Handler in the hope that she'll bring more than her usual 500,000 female fans with her from the E! Network.
It's the safe choice from their point of view.