Stephen Colbert, Jon Stewart's right-hand correspondent on "The Daily Show" and the master of feigned gravitas, has finally been given what he earned long ago: his own show.

While the "The Daily Show" was no stranger to sarcasm and editorializing, "The Colbert Report" (both words pronounced with a silent "t"), which premiered last week, provides "Daily Show" devotees with a perspective on the news that is exclusively punditry-based.

Structured with conspicuous similarity to Fox News's "The O'Reilly Factor," Colbert brutally satirizes self-important political pundits by pontificating to his audience in a manner that is both condescending and confrontational.

Each half-hour installment of the program features a preamble, followed by a segment called "The Word." This segment very obviously derides Bill O'Reilly's "Talking Points," a regular feature of the "Factor." First of all, the two segments are aesthetically identical: the host addresses the audience directly while his arguments are summarized in notes, which are displayed in bullet points on a virtual blackboard on the right side of the screen. But Colbert further spoofs O'Reilly with his laconic, self-righteous delivery.

"As a journalist, it's not my place to editorialize," he said in the show's third episode. "I'm here to objectively divide the facts into categories of good and evil, then let you make up your own minds," he said.

Colbert also makes frequent, passive attacks on the soundness of O'Reilly's logic. Commenting on the debate between the hard scientific evidence supporting the evolution theory and the largely faith-based intelligent design theory, Colbert said, "That's where truth comes from: the gut. Facts come from the brain?and some people think that makes facts better. But did you know you have more nerve endings in your stomach than in your brain? You can look it up."

But amid his satire of specific media targets, Colbert finds time to do what he does best: make politicians feel awkward. In a segment called "Better Know a District," Colbert filed a report on the representative of the voting district of U.S. Congressman Jack Kingston, a Republican from Savannah, Georgia. When he was very young, Kingston lived with his family in Ethiopia. Colbert capitalized on this bit of background by asking Kingston to speak on a personal level about the experience of an African American living in America.

Colbert puts a new spin on the standard interview segment. Instead of having the evening's guest enter to the applause of the audience, Colbert introduces his guest and then rises and walks grandly, waving and blowing kisses to the audience, to a separate set, where his guest sits waiting.

For a show that is in its infant stage, Colbert has managed to lure some pretty big names to the "Report," among them CNN personality Lou Dobbs, Newsweek International Editor Fareed Zakaria, and "60 Minutes" correspondent Leslie Stahl. Surprisingly, Colbert, who purposefully forced awkwardness in interviews during his days as a "Daily Show" correspondent, has exhibited impressive geniality and savoir faire in his interviews.

All told, "The Colbert Report" seems to have a bright future, deftly combining intellectual satire with ludicrous humor. While it won't achieve the stature of its parent program (at least not as long as Jon Stewart is behind the desk), it is different and clever enough to stay afloat as an accessory to "The Daily Show."

"The Colbert Report" airs Monday through Thursday at 11:30 p.m. on Comedy Central.