"Channel Surfing: The Daily Show"
Chicago Tribune
January 11, 1999
by Steve Johnson


After taking over for Larry Sanders in fictional life, comedian Jon Stewart moves into a chair last warmed by Craig Kilborn in real life. He starts Monday as the new host of Comedy Central's signature program, which airs Monday through Thursday. 

And while it is disappointing that contributors Brian Unger and A. Whitney Brown are no longer with the show that satirizes the day's news and lampoons newsgathering conventions, Stewart's sly and cerebral brand of comedy should be a good fit for a program that has found a nice niche somewhere between a Jay-Dave-type program and Saturday Night Live's "Weekend Update" segment. 

Stewart is probably best known for hosting a talk show on MTV, which turned into an engaging but short-lived nationally syndicated hour in 1994. Since then, and since Greg Kinnear became a movie star, he has been everybody's best bet for late-night stardom. 

So it is somewhat surprising that the less versatile Kilborn landed the job replacing Tom Snyder on CBS' Late, Late Show (he'll debut in March), while Stewart -- who had a production deal with David Letterman's Worldwide Pants, a producer of the Late, Late Show -- winds up on the not-even-ubiquitous cable channel. But this wouldn't be the first time a TV network made the wrong call for a late-night host, and the comparative freedom of cable may be more to Stewart's liking anyway.


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