NEW YORK - Comedy Central has locked up its
biggest star, Jon Stewart, to continue as host of the comic newscast
"The Daily Show" through next year's presidential election.
Stewart and Comedy
Central have extended a contract that was to expire this year,
said Bill Hilary, the network's general manager. Terms were not
important to us and it's a flagship show," Hilary said Thursday.
"We're really pleased that we were able to do this."
said the deal was actually reached last fall, but news only slipped
out this week in connection with AOL Time Warner's sale of its
stake in the cable network to Viacom. The two media giants had
shared ownership of Comedy Central.
Show" has increased its audience by 10 percent over the past year,
mostly among viewers aged 18-to-34 who hadn't shown much interest
in topical humor before, Hilary said.
unique show that has brought something different to comedy and
news coverage," Hilary said.
name is usually the first mentioned whenever there's talk of a
late-night vacancy at one of the broadcast networks.
who said he'd reopen talks this fall on extending the contract
further, said he believed Stewart, 40, has more freedom at Comedy
Central than he'd be able to get elsewhere.