Bill O'Reilly was a major source of inspiration for Stephen Colbert's character, according to the comedian.
Colbert stepped out of character on Sunday's episode of "Oprah's Next Chapter," where Oprah asked him about the origins of his show. Colbert spoke about his career on "The Daily Show," where he played a clueless news correspondent. "The Colbert Report" came into being, he said, when "The Daily Show" started airing fake promos for the show.
He said it began as "an attempt to do a pundit show like Bill O'Reilly or Sean Hannity."
When asked who his character was based on, Colbert said, "O'Reilly would be the biggest example because O'Reilly's the king. O'Reilly's been number one in cable news for fifteen thousand weeks running... he's papa bear."
He also cited Anderson Cooper — whom he described as "the silver surfer of cable news, just shiny and... kind of sexy" — and Geraldo Rivera — who he said sends "a real sense of mission" in his reporting — as other influences on his character.
"We wanted to do something that was a pundit show where the character was well-intentioned... poorly-informed, high status idiot," he said.