Typically, Colbert starts each episode with teasers for the show's topics and guest, followed by a dominant verbal metaphor for the way he intends to convey "truth" to his viewers. (For example, using a football metaphor: "Go out ten yards and button-hook to the left. I'm going to hit you with a perfect spiral of the truth.") Then the show's opening titles sequence kicks off, with images of flag waving, Colbert striking poses and words describing Colbert flying by. Originally, the last word to fly past Colbert was "grippy", but it has changed to "megamerican" and, more recently, "lincolnish".

The general flow of segments after the opening titles is:

  • The initial run-through of the day's headlines, similar to The Daily Show but with a pseudo- right-wing spin
  • "The Wørd" [sic] which juxtaposes Colbert's commentary with ironic bullet points on-screen
  • A middle segment that varies
  • An interview with a guest, who is initially kept in the background while spotlights focus on Colbert as he does a victory trot through the studio.
  • A closing statement by Colbert, occasionally accompanied by a new item placed on his bookshelf.



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