'The Colbert Report' Abruptly Goes Dark

7:31 AM PST 02/16/2012 by Marisa Guthrie

Though the reason for Stephen Colbert's absence remains a mystery, sources say the show will resume production soon.

The Colbert Report has caused quite a stir among fans and those unlucky enough to have tickets for tapings on Wednesday and Thursday.

Both shows were canceled at the last minute, with ticket holders invited to re-apply for a future taping. In fact, fans were already lining up at the show's Manhattan studio -- and some were even in their seats -- when Comedy Central sent an e-mail Wednesday alerting ticket holders to the cancelation. Many took to Twitter to express their disappointment, and some tweeted the Comedy Central e-mail. Stephen Colbert has been quiet on Twitter since Wednesday afternoon, when the show tweeted a joke about the contraception battle between President Obama and Republicans.

Comedy Central would only say that the tapings were canceled due to “unforeseen circumstances.” There is no indication that Colbert's absence is caused by a dispute with the network, and sources there told THR that The Colbert Report will be up and running soon.

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Such an abrupt and mysterious suspension is highly unusual for Colbert. The host did suspend his show – for a few seconds – in September 2008 as a dig at then-Republican presidential candidate John McCain, who announced he would suspend his campaign in order to return to Washington to deal with the financial crisis. Of course, McCain also infamously canceled a planned appearance on David Letterman at the time but appeared that day with Katie Couric on The CBS Evening News. For his part, Colbert re-instated his show after only a few moments.

Comedy magazine The Third Beat points out that Jon Stewart’s Daily Show was abruptly canceled only twice; once when Stewart’s second child was born and once when a Daily Show staffer suddenly died.

Email: Marisa.Guthrie@thr.com

Twitter: @MarisaGuthrie

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