"ABC May Have Approached Jon Stewart Before Letterman"
March 14, 2002
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LOS ANGELES -- David Letterman wasn't the only host ABC recently made an offer to.

ABC executives approached "The Daily Show's" Jon Stewart, whose contract with Comedy Central ends in January, about hosting a late-night talk show in the time period occupied by Ted Koppel's "Nightline" before talking to Letterman, reports The New York Post.

Stewart currently earns more than $2 million a year at the cable network. That number would likely increase dramatically if he moved to a broadcast network. Jay Leno currently makes about $17 million a year, while Letterman's new deal with CBS reportedly pays him $31.5 million.

The news that Stewart was approached could further aggravate Koppel, whose five-year contract with ABC reportedly allows him a "window" in September to leave the network. Koppel has expressed his displeasure in the press about ABC's intent to draw Letterman to the network at the expense of his news program, which has held the timeslot for over 20 years.

When ABC shifted its focus from Stewart to Letterman is unclear, but the "Late Show" host turned down the offer Monday (Mar. 11), deciding to remain at CBS. Since then, ABC has been trying to repair their relationship with the respected news anchor. Hosting last week's "Saturday Night Live," Stewart made jokes about CBS and ABC's bids for Letterman, and the rumors that he might be next in line to replace Letterman on CBS if the "Late Show" host moved to ABC.

"I would do anything," Stewart joked during his monologue, noting he'd take Letterman's, Leno's or Conan O'Brien's jobs. "Willard Scott, you tired of waving at old people? I'll take that."

Neither ABC nor Stewart could not be reached for comment.


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