Both hosts' shows see ratings boost

Stephen Colbert’s Jan. 17 crossover interview with “Papa Bear” Bill O’Reilly benefited both hosts, helping “The Colbert Report” set a ratings record for the Comedy Central show and boosting “The O’Reilly Factor’s” haul in younger demos.

“The Colbert Report” pulled in 1.7 million total viewers on Comedy Central Wednesday at 11:30 p.m., up 42% from the show’s average rating for 2006. A big percentage of those viewers — 1.1 million — were adults 18-49.

Fox News’ “The O’Reilly Factor” also put up unusually high 18-49 numbers — about 650,000 people in that age bracket, out of 3 million overall — which doubtless had something to do with the Colbert cross-promotion.

There were no fistfights or shouting matches on either show, though O’Reilly has made clear in the past that he’s not particularly amused by Colbert’s broad imitation of bloviating loudmouths on cable news. Colbert also has made it no secret that O’Reilly is his model, coining the “Papa Bear” nickname.

Colbert stayed in character for both appearances, and when O’Reilly insisted his own tough-guy routine was nothing but an act, Colbert responded, “If you’re an act, what does that make me?”

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