I said that The Colbert Report is easily a TV show I’m watching this season and for good reason. Stephen Colbert, one of Time Magazine’s most influential people of year, is terribly entertaining in his satire of “serious” news programs like Fox News.

As you know, Stephen Colbert formally announced last month that he would be running for President of the United States, but he would only be running in his home state of South Carolina. Many people in the press started to wonder just how far this facade would go. Running in a single state cannot possibly win you the presidency, so it’s obvious enough that Colbert’s candidacy for the post of US President is little more than a publicity stunt, especially considering that he plays a character on his show with very contradictory views on things. (His book — I Am America And So Can You — is equally entertaining and contradictory.) But I digress.

Colbert has been playing out this presidential run on his television show, talking about the application process and what exactly is involved with getting your name on the Presidential ballot. His original intention was to run as both a Republican and as a Democrat, until he ran into a bit of snag. You see, the application and processing fee to be considered as a Democratic hopeful is a mere $2,500. By contrast, to file the same papers for the Grand Old Party (GOP), the fee is $35,000.

On last night’s airing of The Colbert Report, Stephen Colbert officially announced that he has filed and paid for his application as a Democratic Presidential candidate, but he failed to do so for the Republican party, simply because he though the $35,000 fee was way too much. As such, Stephen Colbert is not running for US President as a Republican.

On tonight’s show, we will find out if he’ll make it onto the South Carolina ballot for the Democrats. Wouldn’t it be hilarious if he actually won South Carolina? He obviously wouldn’t ascend as US President, but it would definitely put a thorn in all the “serious” candidates’ respective sides.

Case in point, Barack Obama issued a challenge to Colbert to a “grit-off”, saying that Colbert knows nothing about South Carolina. Colbert heartily agreed on his show last night, so the ball — as they say — is back in Obama’s court. I wonder if Barack will make an appearance on The Colbert Report. It might prove to be good publicity. Whatever happens, I’ll definitely be watching.

UPDATE (11/02/07): On last night’s episode of The Colbert Report, it was announced that Stephen Colbert will not be on the Democratic ballot for South Carolina. They say that he “did not make the cut”, but they will refund the $2,500 filing fee. Damn it!