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NBC wooing Jon Stewart for "Late Night"

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NBC wooing Jon Stewart for "Late Night"

Old 06-24-07, 06:40 PM
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NBC wooing Jon Stewart for "Late Night"

Zucker Courts Jon Stewart

By Ben Grossman -- Broadcasting & Cable, 6/18/2007

After NBC Universal’s high-profile signing of Ben Silverman for the top programming job, Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart might be next on the Peacock’s wish list.

NBC Universal President/Chief Executive Jeff Zucker and NBC Entertainment/Universal Media Studios Co-Chair Marc Graboff recently wined and dined the satirical news anchor and his agent, James Dixon.
According to a network source, Zucker and Graboff didn’t focus on pitching any specific role at the dinner meeting. “They just made their interest known in finding a way to do business together if Jon was ever available,” says the source, who categorized the talks as “exploratory.”

That slow and easy approach mirrors another of Zucker’s high-profile courtships, his successful play to snare Meredith Vieira from The View to replace Katie Couric on the Today show. While Zucker’s play for Silverman was more abrupt after Silverman walked into his office and said he was a free agent, Zucker is known to be a master of the soft sell, knowing with certain talent he can’t push too hard.

Stewart’s The Daily Show With Jon Stewart is a franchise at Comedy Central, and Stewart’s deal is up in 2008. Although Comedy Central has had its eye on off-net sitcoms such as The Office, as well as continuing its slew of originals, it is watching costs in part to have the resources to keep Stewart.
As for NBC, while its late night is in flux right now, the network’s interest in Stewart is not limited to that daypart, according to sources. If Stewart were to jump to a network in late night, he has been said to covet David Letterman’s chair on CBS.
But NBC is turning its attention to its own late-night future. The network has some major decisions to make in the wake of its announcement that Conan O’Brien is scheduled to replace Jay Leno on The Tonight Show in 2009. Leno is still printing money for NBC, and the show’s profitability is even more important now, given the network’s primetime struggles.
While NBC may decide to keep Leno and give O’Brien a reported $40 million payout, either way it has a hole at 12:30 a.m. ET, because O’Brien would undoubtedly leave the network if it pulled The Tonight Show from him.
Whoever ends up hosting at 11:30, NBC has begun actively working on a solution for the post-Tonight Show hole in 2009.
Representatives of Stewart, NBCU and Comedy Central declined comment.
Old 06-24-07, 06:43 PM
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I barely watch tv, but a move for Stewart to NBC would definitely have me tuning in.

E
Old 06-24-07, 06:46 PM
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Fine by me. TDS needs a new host- I've completely stopped watching it because Stewart's mugging and guest fawning just got to be too much. It doesn't help that the current crop of correspondents is the worst in the show's history.
Old 06-24-07, 06:56 PM
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Old 06-24-07, 06:59 PM
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I guess if NBC paid Conan off, he would end up getting wooed by other networks like FOX or ABC. I would 100% watch Conan over Leno. That would turn out perfect actually. I'd watch Conan at 11:30, then switch over to Stewart at 12:30. I never really saw Conan as a Leno replacement anyway. Conan was always more of the college crowd humor (which I like), while Leno was always more of the no humor at all. Don't know how well that would have carried over to the Tonight Show audience.
Old 06-24-07, 06:59 PM
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I kind of agree about the mugging, but fawning? Who has he fawned over? I find him to be one of the most intelligent interviewers on any TV show. He gives his guests respect even when you know he doesn't agree with their ideas. He reads the books people are pushing and asks them pointed questions about it. They carry on a civil conversation. What's fawning about that?

I don't know if I'd be interested in seeing him in a traditional late-night TV format, though. If he does go to NBC, I hope he brings something fresh.
Old 06-24-07, 07:00 PM
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This whole mess is just confusing at NBC. First Conan is taking over for Jay. Then he might not. Then, Jimmy Fallon indicated on Howard Stern's show last week, he's being paid right now by NBC to not take a late night gig, with the intent of taking over for Conan. Now this crap?

All I've got to say, is if Conan doesn't get the Tonight Show gig, I might have to disown NBC. He has put in his time. He's more than earned it. And, he's far funnier than Jay Leno will ever be.

Plus, his sketch comedy is far more in tune with what Johnny did. Sure, he gave a great monologue, but I always found his skits funnier.

Last edited by Deftones; 06-24-07 at 07:05 PM.
Old 06-24-07, 07:02 PM
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Oh man! I hope NBC doesn't dick over Conan.
Old 06-24-07, 07:12 PM
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Surely nobody expects Leno to just step down. Especially if the successor if much funnier then him.
Old 06-24-07, 07:24 PM
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Jimmy Fallon is Carson Daly on caffiene...

... and both are worthless.
Old 06-24-07, 07:39 PM
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I like Stewart a lot and still enjoy The Daily Show, but I'd like to see him do something new and see the show change. It's been a bit stale for a while now, made more obvious by how much better The Report is.

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Old 06-24-07, 08:06 PM
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I'd really like NBC to try out Leno at 8 PM, perhaps 3 nights a week instead of 5. Move Conan to 11:30 but still in New York and with the Late Night title, and bring Stewart in for 12:30. I think everybody could be happy that way.
Old 06-24-07, 08:16 PM
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Give the Tonight Show to David Letterman, give one of the shows open to Jimmy Kimmel, Jon Stewart might be a good pick for one of them as well. And Conan? He's the least funny of them all...his best material comes from Robert Smigel. By himself he's as funny as a poke in the eye and I never understood why he was so ridiculously popular.
Old 06-24-07, 08:33 PM
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guess nobody else would love to see Craig Kilbourn take over for Conan and Conan take over for Leno?? Though I don't think Craig will be back on TV anytime soon unfortunately
Old 06-24-07, 08:33 PM
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Jimmy Fallon? really? this guy wasn't funny on SNL, why would he make a good talk show host?

I thought that Leno was the one that wanted to step down in 2008, not that they were just not renewing his deal. That article is confusing.
Old 06-24-07, 10:42 PM
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Jimmy Fallon is one of the most worthless people in hollywood right now. That aside why would they screw around with the tonight show again I mean come on did they not screw this up the first time, and they end they looked like jackasses and it took a hooker loving hugh grant for them to gain the audience back the first time.
Old 06-24-07, 10:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Deftones
All I've got to say, is if Conan doesn't get the Tonight Show gig, I might have to disown NBC. He has put in his time. He's more than earned it. And, he's far funnier than Jay Leno will ever be.

Plus, his sketch comedy is far more in tune with what Johnny did. Sure, he gave a great monologue, but I always found his skits funnier.
Agree 100%
Old 06-24-07, 11:24 PM
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In the "Conan taking over the Tonight Show" deal, would the show move back to NYC? Or is Conan expected to move to LA?
Old 06-25-07, 03:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Lara Means
Oh man! I hope NBC doesn't dick over Conan.
Getting paid a $40 million buyout, and then probably getting another show at the same time on a different network would probably ease the pain quite a bit.

And, The Tonight Show isn't really "The Tonight Show" anymore, after so many years of Leno stinking it up.
Old 06-25-07, 06:43 AM
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I think Conan's best run was 1999 to 2003. He's still good, and 1000x better than Leno or Letterman, but I find myself flipping over to Ferguson quite frequently.

Jon Stewart is definitely capable, but will he trade in political content for mainstream cash? I guess a 10-15 minute monologue would be similar to the Daily Show's coverage of headlines, but he would have to cover more Hollywood.

As far as Daily Show correspondents, I wonder if they could bring Rob Corddry back to take over for Stewart? He's up there with Carrell and Colbert as far as the best correspondents. I think John Oliver and Aasif Mandvi are doing a solid job.
Old 06-25-07, 09:20 AM
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I like the idea of Stewart taking over for Letterman when he leaves. Their comedy styles are much more similar than Stewart and Leno. Seems a good fit. I would just hope Stewart would take his political satire with him.
Old 06-25-07, 09:22 AM
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The most confusing part of all this is the expected content.

When/If Conan goes to the Tonight Show, will it be the Late Night we all know from today? Will NBC expect the zanyness to be toned down for the 65 year old women in Kentucky that Leno currently has?

Or will NBC be willing to blow all that out of the water and have the 11:30 slot suddenly skew younger, disown the older Leno fans, and hope like heck that whoever takes Conan's spot gets the job done.

Since this announcment a year or so ago I have felt there is something going on behind the scenes that we don't know about. I think NBC gave Conan this deal to keep him from leaving before.

In my perfect world, Conan would keep his show INTACT and move to FOX at 11:30, or better yet, 11:00 and go up against local news. FOX programming ends at 10:00 anyway. That way I can see Conan earlier and GET SOME SLEEP!
Old 06-25-07, 09:26 AM
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Originally Posted by dhmac
In the "Conan taking over the Tonight Show" deal, would the show move back to NYC? Or is Conan expected to move to LA?
It's been announced that The Tonight Show is staying in LA. Makes sense to me- keep the staid, boring show in LA and the fresh, irreverent show in New York.
Old 06-25-07, 09:50 AM
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Originally Posted by cornflakeguy
I think NBC gave Conan this deal to keep him from leaving before.
Can you think of another reason to name Leno's replacement 5 years before it happens?
Old 06-25-07, 09:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Spicollidriver1
Jimmy Fallon is one of the most worthless people in hollywood right now. That aside why would they screw around with the tonight show again I mean come on did they not screw this up the first time, and they end they looked like jackasses and it took a hooker loving hugh grant for them to gain the audience back the first time.
Jimmy Fallon as Jimmy Fallon is without a doubt unfunny. But JF as an impressionist is amazing. His CJ impressions of Sander and especially Robin Williams are legendary.

Jared's Room however, is the worst SNL skit this side of Deep House Dish.

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