"'Daily Show' Co-Creator Steps Down"
December 19, 2002


LOS ANGELES (Zap2it.com) - Madeleine Smithberg, the co-creator of "The Daily Show" on Comedy Central, is leaving the show to spend more time with her family.

The show is scheduled to begin a two-week holiday break Friday (Dec. 20). It resumes production Jan. 7, with host Jon Stewart remaining as executive producer. Smithberg, who's also an executive producer, won't be replaced.

"They say you can have it all as a working mother, but clearly that doesn't include food or sleep," Smithberg jokes. "This has been a very difficult decision for me. I am and will always be proud of my work on the 'The Daily Show.' "

Comedy Central hired Smithberg in 1996 to develop a nightly series that dealt with current events. She and Lizz Winstead created "The Daily Show," which launched in July of that year. (Winstead left the show in 1998 after then-host Craig Kilborn made some disparaging remarks about her in Esquire magazine.)

Kilborn left the show at the end of 1998, with Stewart taking the host's seat in 1999. The show won an Emmy in 2000 for best writing for a variety series and a Peabody Award for its "Indecision 2000" election coverage.

"Madeleine is the best and we are going to miss her," Stewart says. "We can only hope one day she wakes up and realizes that her number one priority should be show business."

Smithberg says she's grateful to Comedy Central for allowing "hard-working and creative people the opportunity to realize their vision."

"But after 17 years spent in daily, late-night comedy," she says (she also worked on "Late Night with David Letterman" from 1986-92), "it is time for me to take a break."


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