CBS has received a complaint about “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” from lawyers representing Colbert’s old Comedy Central show, “The Colbert Report.” The AP reports that the complaint came in response to Colbert’s revival of the character “Stephen Colbert,” a version of himself that he showcased for years on the old show.
Colbert announced on Wednesday’s “Late Show” that the lawyers indicated the character “Stephen Colbert” is their intellectual property. He quipped that the claim is “surprising, cuz I never considered that guy much of an intellectual.”
To booing from the audience, Colbert said it has been determined that the character must be retired.
“I feel the same way, but what can I do?” Colbert told audience members. “The lawyers have spoken. I cannot reasonably argue I own my face or name. And as much as I’d like to have that guy on again, I can’t.”
However, Colbert may have found a workaround.
“He then introduced ‘Stephen Colbert’s identical twin cousin,’ an interview with himself displaying the same cocked eyebrow expression his old character had,” the AP reports. “Then the real Colbert did one of the old show’s most popular recurring segments, retitling ‘The Word’ to ‘The Werd.'”
Reps for CBS and Comedy Central weren’t commenting, but the report notes that up until the CBS-Viacom split in 2005 the two networks were corporate cousins.
Here’s Colbert’s segment on the legal hassle from Wednesday’s show …