Yeah, yeah, he got a bump because it was his debut at 8 p.m. and people were curious. And yet, this isn’t the first time that O’D has outperformed Kayo in that slot. Remember what happened when he guest-hosted for Olby last April?

Two words, in honor of a guy who used to read the teleprompter on SportsCenter before discovering that he was the modern-day answer to Edward R. Murrow: Wally Pipp.

Of course, the news surrounding Mr. Olbermann’s abrupt departure from the network last week may have fueled some curiosity about what the channel’s hosts might say about him or the circumstances of his break with MSNBC.

Lawrence O’Donnell clearly benefited, as he averaged 1.5 million total viewers for his first night as Mr. Olbermann’s replacement. That was up a little under 50 percent from Mr. Olbermann’s average number in that hour, just over 1 million viewers. And yes, Mr. O’Donnell did pay tribute to Mr. Olbermann, saying he owed his introduction to the network to him.

So did the 9 p.m. host Rachel Maddow, and her show was up by about the same amount to 1.4 million viewers for the hour. Both shows dwarfed the numbers for one competitor, CNN, though as usual, they trailed the leading news channel, Fox News.

Here’s Colbert bidding a fond adieu to MSNBC’s hour of bombast. If you missed it in Headlines earlier, Bret Stephens has a compelling backhanded homage to Olbermann on today’s WSJ op-ed page. Yes, Olby’s insufferable, he concedes, but he was honest at least in his bias. After all, which is ultimately more damaging — an in-your-face liberal screeching about tea partiers or, say, Newsweek cooking up an “impartial” look at right-wing extremism in the wake of the Arizona shootings and almost forgetting to mention that Loughner wasn’t driven by politics? The nice thing about caricatures is that you can’t miss the distortions.

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