Long-Time viewers of The Daily Show may remember that the now-hugely-popular sister show The Colbert Report actually started as a series of fake promos featuring Stephen directly parodying The O’Reilly Factor way back in late 2003. The following year, Comedy Central finally decided to build on The Daily Show and create a spin-off. The producers, Jon Stewart and Ben Karlin, got together with Colbert and tried to come up with a show. Stephen would later go on to say that they couldn’t “think of a better idea than those bumbers, so let’s just make that real.” ‘Bumpers’, refering to the promo bumpers they had already created. They pitched the show to the network, and the idea was green-lit without creating a pilot. Soon after, the show became one of the network’s biggest hits. Now that Comedy Central has archived the entire Daily Show series online, you can view all of the original fake promo bumpers for what would become the real show:
For more, I highly recommend watching the interview he gave Charlie Rose, where they discuss not only the creation of the show, but all kinds of fascinating behind-the-scenes information from both The Colbert Report and his work on The Daily Show.