Tomorrow night will be a TV night of epic proportions. Of course, The Office is the anchor of any Thursday night TV we watch around the house, but it’s probable that we will watch both My Name is Earl and the musical episode of Scrubs. To me, it was telling that of the five actors nominated for best lead actor in a comedy series at the Golden Globes (which aired on Monday), four were the leads of the Thursday night comedies on NBC: Jason Lee (Earl), Steve Carell (The Office, last year’s winner), Zach Braff (Scrubs), and Alec Baldwin (who won for 30 Rock).
Anyhow, The Office is great, and it received its highest Nielsen ratings of the season last week (a 5.0/13 share, combining with Earl to win the 8:00 hour in the coveted 18-49 demographic). The season got off to a slow start in my mind, but it’s building steam with the assimilation of new talents and new plot lines.
Any Office night is a good one, but a couple of big personalities are trying to top everything with their hijinks on extended cable. Tomorrow is the night of the long-awaited dual guest appearances for Stephen Colbert on The O’Reilly Factor (also at 8PM Eastern, Fox News) and for Bill O’Reilly on The Colbert Report (11:30 PM Eastern on Comedy Central).
Though I don’t watch his show every night, I’ve been a fan of Colbert’s since his performance at last year’s White House Correspondents Dinner, which you can probably find on YouTube or something. His roast of President Bush during a usually-lighthearted event really got me fired up to follow his show, which is hilarious.
The remarkable thing about this appearance is that Colbert has built his persona as an even less-likable and more factually-challenged satire of O’Reilly and other blowhard news show hosts. I’m not sure yet if it will be a mutual love-fest on the Factor, with Colbert playing his conservative on-air persona, or if it will be an actual interview, so that will be the thing to watch.
If you’re not familiar with O’Reilly, watchdog group Media Matters for America would be happy to enlighten you on his shortcomings as a journalist, or you can just take my word that he is just generally full of it. I can’t wait to see how this goes down. Since all the times of these shows overlap, I’ll be watching and recording The Office at 8:30 while the Factor airs, then I’ll record the Factor repeat at from 11PM-midnight while watching Colbert at 11:30, so that I can then fast forward through the Factor to get to the Colbert interview immediately after that. O’Reilly will also air at 4 AM Friday, while Colbert will show again on Friday at 8:30 PM, if you can’t see any of the above times.
Here are some of my favorite O’Reilly headlines, documented by Media Matters: