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> Brian Lowry: The show “has gotten off to an impressive start with a topnotch premiere followed by a respectable second outing that underscores just how challenging it will be to sustain this half-hour high-wire act four nights a week.” Continuing: “Colbert is such a natural at his smarmy-news-guy persona that he should be able to keep the show watchable if the writing holds up.”
> Aaron Barnhart: “Monday’s premiere was one of the most nearly perfect half-hours of television I’ve ever seen. Colbert delivered a blistering manifesto modeled on the show’s touchstone, fatuous ranter Bill O’Reilly” BUT! “But the meat of The Colbert Report, so far, is his send-up of O’Reilly. Exactly how long Colbert can stay in character — basically as a parody of another TV character — is the question, and Tuesday’s show, with another overly long opening rant, didn’t do much to dispel it.”
> Matt Zoller Seitz: “Colbert cherry-picks elements from Cooper’s CNN program ‘360’ (Colbert has pledged ‘not to read the news to you, but to feel the news at you’), ‘Scarborough Country’ (Colbert welcomes viewers to ‘Colbert Nation’) and ‘The O’Reilly Factor’ ( ‘Talking Points’ memos, populist posturing, name-brand merchandise).”