- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Anniversary gift

“The Colbert Report” celebrated its one-year anniversary by offering the show’s devoted audience — the “Colbert Nation” — a piece of its leader.

Stephen Colbert announced that he will auction the portrait that hangs above the fireplace on the set of his Comedy Central show. The painting depicts a debonair Mr. Colbert standing in front of a similar portrait of himself, Associated Press reports.

The portrait will be auctioned on EBay until Oct. 27, with the winner announced on the show Oct. 30. Proceeds will benefit Save the Children.

“I’ve already saved the world. How hard could saving the children be?” Mr. Colbert said.

The effect of the painting is that of a hall of mirrors — not unlike the strange reflections of Mr. Colbert’s comedy, which bounces back and forth between reality and “truthiness.” A spinoff of “The Daily Show,” “The Colbert Report” has built a following of its own since premiering last year, when it famously coined truthiness as truth that comes from the gut, not books.

“The Colbert Report,” a deadpan parody of combative, conservative talk shows, also recently wrapped up its Green Screen Challenge, in which viewers were urged to supply new video background to footage of Mr. Colbert fighting with a light saber.

A video by a viewer identified as Bonnie R. trumped a late entry from — as Mr. Colbert introduced — George L. It turned out to be the work of “Star Wars” director George Lucas, who appeared on the program last week.

“The Colbert Report” airs Mondays through Thursdays at 11:30 p.m.

Back in the Swim

Fans of the Cartoon Network’s “Aqua Teen Hunger Force” are some of TV’s most patient viewers.

The cult cartoon — along with “Harvey Birdman,” the longest-running original series on the network’s Adult Swim block — began in 2001, but only 57 15-minute episodes have aired. A new season finally begins Sunday at 10:30 p.m. with two new installments.

The show’s title is a bit of a misnomer. The anthropomorphic fast-food items that star in the show aren’t teens and don’t spend that much time in the water, although once in a while they soak in neighbor Carl’s swimming pool. Instead, Master Shake, Frylock and Meatwad spend most of their time just hanging out in suburban New Jersey. The show’s sometimes brutal humor makes it one of the strangest things on television — and also one of the funniest.

Todd Field, director of the film “Little Children” (opening tomorrow in area theaters) voiced the character of Ol’ Drippy in a few episodes. Last month, in an interview with The Washington Times at the annual Toronto Film Festival, he said that creators Matt Maiellero and Dave Willis are hard at work on a feature-film version of the show.

CW cans ‘Runaway’

After moving “Runaway” from Monday to Sunday, the CW has put the struggling freshman drama out of its misery by canceling the show, effective immediately, reports Mediaweek.com.

To date, “Runaway” — seen just four times since premiering last month — ranks dead last among all prime-time series, with 1.9 million viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research data. The series revolved around a family that goes on the lam after the father is wrongly accused of murder.

“Runaway” joins the CBS drama “Smith” as one of the first casualties of the new television season, notes Reuters news agency, and also has the distinction of being the first cancellation by the network born out of the fusion of UPN and the WB.

“Runaway” and the comedy “The Game” were the only original series introduced by the CW for the fall season.

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse and Kelly Jane Torrance from staff, Web and wire reports.

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