George Dubya or
Jon Stewart--who'll stay in the public eye longer?
Depending on the outcome of next year's
presidential election, the Daily Show host could find himself
cracking wise at a whole new administration. Stewart has reupped
his contract with Comedy Central to continue skewering the news
through next year--his current contract expires at the end of
"He's very important to us and it's a
flagship show," the network's general manager Bill Hilary tells
the Associated Press. "We're really pleased that we were able
to do this."
Terms of the deal extending Stewart's contract
were not disclosed.
But according to Hilary, the deal was actually
inked last fall--news of his new deal only surfaced this week
after Viacom bought the remaining 50 percent stake in Comedy Central
from AOL Time Warner for about $1.23 billion to gain full control
of the cable network. The two media conglomerates had previously
shared ownership of Comedy Central.
Fueling Stewart's extension is the Daily
Show's popularity with the advertiser-friendly 18-34 demo,
who've traditionally tuned out of mom and pop's more serious-minded
newscasts. Stewart's laffer has increased its audience by 10 percent
in the past year.
"It's a unique show that has brought
something different to comedy and news coverage," Hilary says.
Stewart, who inherited the Daily Show
gig from Craig Kilborn in 1998, has been the go-to guy when the
possibility of a late-night vacancy crops up at the broadcast
But Hilary tells the AP he thinks the 40-year-old
funnyman has more freedom at Comedy Central than he'd be able
to find elsewhere and hopes the net can land Stewart for at least
two more years.
Stewart's got a long history of making late-night
viewers guffaw. He hosted the syndicated Jon Stewart Show,
which originally launched on MTV in 1993, was a backup host on
The Late Late Show with Tom Snyder and had a recurring
role as Larry Sanders' scheming successor on HBO's The Larry
Sanders Show. When not playing second fiddle, Stewart has
stepped out onto the big screen, starring in Death to Smoochy,
Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back and Big Daddy, among