Skip to content
Subscriber Only

The Colbert Report’s TV Production Software Is No Joke

An in-house tech startup wants to replace script creator programs
Stephen Colbert in Washington
Stephen Colbert in WashingtonPhotograph by Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post via Getty Images

When Stephen Colbert leaves his desk at Comedy Central later this year to replace David Letterman at CBS, he’ll be remembered for his right-wing blowhard character, his super PAC, and his contribution of the word “truthiness” to the English language. He may also leave a lasting mark on the obscure world of TV production software. There are coders hiding among the comedians on The Colbert Report staff, and in the past few years they’ve created a program the show now uses to write and produce segments. Several staffers have formed a startup, Scripto, to develop the software and license it to other TV shows.

Scripto’s bare-bones website describes its product as a “collaborative text editor that allows a show’s entire staff to work on the same set of scripts at the same time” and says it’s “currently expanding to other clients.” For about a year, The Colbert Report has been using a beta version developed by writer Rob Dubbin and other staffers over three years. Dubbin declined to comment for this story, saying that the startup wasn’t far enough along to discuss.