Stephen Colbert ditched the White House Correspondents Assn. Dinner on Saturday for the Montclair Film Festival’s special screening of Sidney Lumet’s “Network.”

After the retrospective screening, David Letterman’s successor led a discussion about with Dave Itzkoff, author of “Mad As Hell” about the making of the classic 1976 prophetic film, which predicted that television ratings wars would drive broadcast networks away from serious news.

The biggest laugh of the evening came after Itzkoff described why the Oscar-winning movie penned by Paddy Chayefsky was in fact visionary.

“This (film) is the story of a man who developed a certain voice that allowed him to reach an audience and then as soon as he got the opportunity to move on to a different show, he just dropped that persona at the behest of his corporate masters,” the author said. “It’s a dark satire.”

While the audience roared with laughter, Colbert grinned before…

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