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How Colbert Became the New King of Late Night

By Published on .

Ad Age "Media Guy" columnist Simon Dumenco's media roundup for the morning of Monday, April 10:

Toyota repackages long-planned investments to try to get on President Trump's good side (No. 3). A group of Twitter users want to try to rework Twitter as a sort of co-op (No. 4). A veteran TV producer repositions Stephen Colbert -- and it works (No. 5). And professional scold Bill O'Reilly suddenly has a big branding problem (Nos. 6 and 7). Anyway, let's get started ...

1. The front page of this morning's New York Daily News:

2. "People across India are hailing the composure of a television news anchor who learned of her husband's death as she delivered a breaking news report on live TV," per an Associated Press report (via NBC News). "Supreet Kaur was reading the morning news bulletin for India's IBC24 channel in Chhattisgarh state on Saturday when a reporter called in a story about a fatal road crash. Although the reporter didn't name the three victims, Kaur realized her husband, Harsad Kawade, was among the dead based on the details of the story."

3. "President Donald Trump took credit for Toyota Motor Corp. investing $1.33 billion in an existing U.S. factory, championing spending by a Japanese automaker he's blasted for building a plant in Mexico," Bloomberg's John Lippert reports this morning. "The outlays in Georgetown, Kentucky, aren't new -- they've been in the works for years. But the way they're being marketed is. Instead of emphasizing cost efficiency, Toyota is highlighting ample spending and the previously announced addition of 700 jobs. The president has taken notice."

4. Saving Twitter. "Here's a potential Twitter acquirer you may not have considered: The service's own users," Recode's Kurt Wagner writes in a Sunday evening post. "Last fall, when Twitter was considering a sale, a group of Twitter diehards started a petition encouraging the company to sell itself to its users, which would essentially turn Twitter into a co-op. ... A proposal to explore the co-op idea has made it onto the official agenda for the company's annual shareholder meeting set to take place in May."

5. Stephen Colbert's smiling mug appears along the bottom of the front page of The New York Times this morning under a teaser headline, "Behind Colbert's Comeback," that promotes the business section's big story: "How Colbert Finally Got Real" -- retitled "How Stephen Colbert Finally Found His Elusive Groove" for the web. John Koblin writes,

"The Late Show" has done what a year ago seemed unthinkable: It has become the most viewed show in late night. Mr. Colbert's show has reeled off nine consecutive weeks of ratings victories over Jimmy Fallon's once-invincible "Tonight Show," and is poised to make it 10 in a row when the latest numbers come out on Tuesday. NBC executives have taken solace in the fact that Mr. Fallon still commands a lead in the age demographic vital to advertisers, and are skeptical that this Colbert surge will last forever.

That said, Koblin lays credit for much of the current Colbert surge to Chris Licht, the newish executive producer of "The Late Show."

6. Also in The New York Times, Jim Rutenberg asks "Can Bill O'Reilly Keep His Scold's Perch?" in his Monday media column:

Mr. O'Reilly remained the star he is by railing against "moral relativism" of liberals who he said encourage people to play the "victim" instead of taking "personal responsibility" for their own decisions. Now, it's Mr. O'Reilly who stands accused of showing poor values; of playing the victim, suggesting in a statement that his prominence has made him an easy mark for opportunistic women seeking a payday.

7. And finally, also speaking of Bill O'Reilly, on "Saturday Night Live" over the weekend, O'Reilly defender President Trump showed up on "The O'Reilly Factor" -- and thanks to the magic of prerecording, Alec Baldwin played both men:

Simon Dumenco, aka Media Guy, is an Ad Age editor-at-large. You can follow him on Twitter @simondumenco.

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