How Stephen Colbert Turned an 'Intrepid Cub Reporter' Into a National Sensation (Video)
Katie Eastman, a 22-year-old TV reporter from Des Moines, Iowa, didn't expect to become a national sensation only two months into fledgling career.
But a couple weeks ago, the WIO-TV employee caught the attention of The Colbert Report host Stephen Colbert.
Her station had refused to air an ad from Colbert's recently formed super political action committee, the Colbert SuperPAC.
In the ad, Iowa voters are urged to vote for "Rick Parry" -- the misspelling of Texas Gov. Rick Perry's name is intentional -- and then Colbert is shown mocking the TV station and Eastman, its "intrepid cub reporter" whose stories have included pieces on garage sales.
After the station's refusal to air the ad, Colbert fired back on his Comedy Central show.
"Clearly someone needs to get to the bottom of this corruption!" Colbert said. "Someone on the inside, like intrepid WOI reporter Katie Eastman."
He added: "Katie blew the lid off Garage-Sale-Gate! Clearly, Katie, you're the only one I can trust. Call me."
In a recent interview with NPR, Eastman said she found out about her newfound celebrity after she woke up one morning "to a barrage of voicemails, text messages, tweets."
One message, from a friend across the country, said: "Katie. I just saw everything. I hope you're all right. Call me."
So when Eastman hit the Web to find out exactly what was going on and saw the Colbert Report clip, "I just died. ... I started screaming, and just like pacing the kitchen floor. Like, 'That just did not just happen! No! That was my face! Oh, my gosh!' "
Colbert again poked fun at Eastman the following week, quipping about her report on a new city dog park: "I smell a poo-litzer!"
According to Yahoo's The Lookout blog, Web searches for Eastman spiked by more than 200 percent after Colbert mentioned her on his show, and a fan suggested on her Facebook page that she run as vice president on the "Rick Parry" ticket. Another person wrote: "If you plan to run against sarah palin. You have my vote and my bet."
For her part, Eastman admitted she is worried the fame might hurt her career if the perception is that she "only cover[s] puppies."
But mostly, she's taking it all in stride: "You can laugh at yourself. That's what I've been doing."